Germany widens travel warning to all of Egypt

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Germany widened Tuesday its travel warning to all of Egypt including the popular tourist resorts of the Red Sea, where Germans have continued to flock despite the recent turmoil.

"The foreign ministry urgently warns against travelling to anywhere in Egypt in view of recent developments and the unstable situation," a statement said.

"In view of the complexity of the situation and the difficulty in predicting what will happen, this advice also applies to the tourist resorts of the Red Sea, even if the situation is calm there at present."

The ministry added that it was in close contact with travel companies with a view to organising additional flights to repatriate Germans from Cairo, Alexandria and other cities.

It said that there was space on Air Berlin flights to Germany from Sharm el-Sheik, Hurghada and Marsa Alam for people wanting to come home from the Red Sea. It also set up a special hotline.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle meanwhile called on Egypt to hold "free and fair" elections and for President Hosni Mubarak to seek dialogue with opponents, echoing a call by European Union foreign ministers on Monday.

"The genie of freedom is out of the bottle, and this will change the world, not just the Arab world," Westerwelle said.

"We want free and fair elections. We Europeans will do what we can to support this process."

"The most important thing at the moment is for there to be a serious dialogue... The new Egyptian vice president has said there will be dialogue, and now deeds must follow the words."

He added: "What we do not want, however, is for this democratic wave to bring radicals, extremists and fundamentalists to power."

© 2011 AFP

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