Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi made a shortened, but politically important trip to Berlin to meet with German Chancellorto restore confidence that he and his Islamic government are continuing on the road to democracy.
Morsi was also hoping the chancellor would forgive the roughly €240 million that Egypt owes. Instead, Merkel offered advice.
Merkel told Morsi that it is "important for us that the line for dialogue is always open to all political forces in Egypt, that the different political forces can make their contribution, that human rights are adhered to in Egypt and that, of course, religious freedom is enjoyed."
Merkel also stated that any future aid to Egypt by the German government will depend on the country’s democratic progress.
Morsi’s visit comes in the middle of the worst violence since the Egyptian uprising in Jan. 2011 that removedfrom 30 years of authoritarian rule. According to Associated Press, more than 60 people have been killed in the past six days.
The latest unrest began following a presidential decree issued by Morsi on Nov. 22, 2012 which prevented any court from overturning his decision, effectively giving the Egyptian leader unchecked power and protecting him of any judicial reviews. This did not bode well for citizens who had freely-elected Morsi as their president.
Morsi responded to Merkel’s statements by saying that talks were possible and Egypt would be a country ruled by civilian law and not the military. However, he declined to make any commitments by the opposition for a nationally united government, claiming the decision would be made by the country’s new parliament after elections in April .
The two countries have a bilateral trade volume of about €4.1 billion, making Egypt the third largest trading partner with Germany within the Arab states.