Germany's Merkel discusses Egypt crisis with Mubarak

30th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to refrain from violence in dealing with the protests in his country during a phone conversation Sunday, her office said.

"She once more urged the Egyptian security forces not to use violence on the demonstrators," as the two leaders discussed the crisis in detail, said spokesman Steffen Seibert in a statement.

Merkel had also called for guarantees for the freedom to demonstrate and freedom of information, said Seibert.

She made clear that she expected the new government appointed by Mubarak this weekend to go through with the political and economic reforms he had announced.

Merkel had told Mubarak it was "indispensable to hold a dialogue with the population, particularly with the youth, and to meet their legitimate demand," Seibert added.

Earlier Sunday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Berlin backed Egypt's pro-democracy movement, urging authorities to take the protests seriously.

"The German government is on the side of those who are calling for democracy and the rights of man and citizens," his ministry quoted him as saying.

"We do not yet know how political developments will unfold in Egypt. But one things is clear, nothing will ever be the same as before," he added.

The protests in Egypt came "from the heart of society, particularly the younger generation and the middle class", he noted, and and must "for this reason be taken seriously."

The anti-government uprising raged for a sixth straight day in Egypt Sunday amid increasing lawlessness and mass jail breaks, with a death toll estimated at 125.

Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Egypt's beleaguered President Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence "at all costs" in a joint statement.

The three leaders called on Mubarak to commit to change in response to what they said were the "legitimate grievances" of his people.

© 2011 AFP

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