'Greatly concerned' Germany calls for calm in Egypt

20th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany's foreign minister Sunday appealed for calm in Egypt, saying the violent clashes in the country were of "great concern" and threatened to derail the progress made towards democracy.

"The latest news from Cairo and Alexandria has filled me with great concern. I call on all sides to refrain from any violence," said Guido Westerwelle, in a statement issued by his office in Berlin.

"The Egyptian people have in recent months continuously pressed for democratic progress in their country. This must not now be put in jeopardy," added Westerwelle.

Clashes overnight between protesters and police left two people dead and hundreds injured, sparking fears of a disruption of Egypt's first elections since the end of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-rule, scheduled for November 28.

It is of the "utmost importance" that these elections take place in a "peaceful and orderly" fashion, insisted Westerwelle.

"In this way, Egypt can take an important step in the direction of democracy ... everything must now be done to allow a first step in handing over power to a democratically legitimate government," added the minister.

The health ministry in Egypt said 750 people were injured in the clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square, while demonstrations also spread to the cities of Alexandria, Aswan and Suez.

About 40 policemen were among those injured, the interior ministry said.

© 2011 AFP

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