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Merkel compares Egypt to Eastern Europe

Published: 12 Feb 2011 12:53 GMT+01:00

“The people are standing up and not just in Europe but also in other parts of the world,” she said in a podcast.

She said Egyptian and Tunisian protestors had been calling for basic human rights, which she said were universal. “There are various facets – freedom of opinion is freedom of opinion and a state of laws is also that everyone has legal chances,” she said.

Yet she said there were differences between European and Arabic societies. “And therefore the people in these countries must decide for themselves in which direction they go,” she said.

Cooperation between Europe and Arabic countries would become more intense, she added.

“I believe we have a responsibility for this, because there will only be peace and also security for us when all people in the world have a chance for a good life,” she said.

Meanwhile Cairo was on Saturday gradually returning to a new normality after a night of celebrations sparked by the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Street blocks were being removed from the entrance to Tahrir Square where demonstrators had held out for 18 days to bring down the regime.

Millions had celebrated across the country through the night amid uncertainty of what to expect from the military which has been handed official control of the country.

Tourism companies specialising in Egyptian holidays have broken cover and made a plea for customers to return to them after seeing a dearth of bookings over the last couple of weeks.

“Day for day Egypt is losing $30 million in tourism, and the German tourism industry is losing an important market,” said Ernst Burgbacher, the government’s tourism expert.

He said the government was going to discuss how to help countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, which also recently overthrew its dictatorship, with economic reforms.

“It remains open, in which way the economic policies of these countries will go – in the direction of liberalism or protectionism,” said Bernd Pfaffenbach, Germany's deputy economy minister.

Merkel has also called for the Egyptian military leadership now running the country to do its part to uphold peace in the region.

"We also expect the future Egyptian government to continue to keep the peace in the Middle East, in that the agreements made with Israel are respected and Israel's security is guaranteed," she said.

Merkel said she wished the Egyptian people "a society without corruption, censorship, arrests and torture," adding that Mubarak had done his people "a final service" with his resignation.

"The legitimate demands made by the people in recent days must be implemented quickly. We will do everything in our power to support the developments in Egypt, the legitimate wishes of the people," she said.

"We believe it is essential that this transformation is truly irreversible and that it results in a freer Egypt. At the end of the process there must be free elections."

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle went to Tunisia on Saturday, promising German help in the democratisation process. A month after the dictator Zine al-Abinine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country to Saudi Arabia, Westerwelle said the country could become a good example for other countries in the Arabic world.

He is set to meet a number of officials in the country, warning that the international community must not forget about developments there – in the light of what has happened in Egypt.

DPA/DAPD/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:23 February 12, 2011 by marimay
But Merkie, you and all the other western leaders were pals with Mubarak...
18:48 February 12, 2011 by philosofer
Hold on there people! Before you pop the champagne and celebrate, you should wait for this thing to cool down and see how democracry unfold there. I don't know about you, but i'm ready to laugh my ass off at western leaders soon for their gullible naive in believing that democracy can actually happen in mideast!
19:44 February 12, 2011 by marimay
I laugh more at people who think they already live in a democracy. ;)
20:32 February 12, 2011 by derExDeutsche
@ Philosofer

Oh, you could laugh. But, you would be the Naive one.

What makes you think the Orchestrators of this coup aren't Planning on the failure and exploitation of this supposed 'Democracy'?

This is Chess, not Checkers. This is Socialist Islam.

Whats funny is, the Unemployment is so high in Egypt, the International Trade Unions don't even want to get involved. Good Luck with that, Egypt.
21:31 February 12, 2011 by DOZ
Merkel believes in Fairy Tales.
21:52 February 12, 2011 by hanskarl
The western press and governments are so duped by this it is unbelievable. How could they refute their friend Mubarak so easily is what intrigues me. Their idea of democracy, the Western version, will not stand in an Islamic/Muslim state regardless of how modern it is today (or may appear).

The repression of Mubarak will pale in comparison when Sharia law takes final hold of Egyptian society several months or years from now. There can be no mixture of democracy and Islam in the end. In the end the final outcome will be all Sharia law. Jordan is in the midst of an uprising and Syria is shaking in their boots, whose next?
01:10 February 13, 2011 by philosofer
Germany! Why don't you take a good look at what happens now in Italy and learn. Just this week Italy got 3000 refugees from Tunisia alone(bbc news), more will come in comming months and years. Soon, you will see an influx of refugees from Egypt and the rest of mideast too. Let's get ready europe, you wish for democracy in mideast now it comes and now we pay the freaking price, you stupid mother...ker! They will use this opportunity invade europe in the name of refugees and we always be the same suckers. So now you'll have the same chaos like they have...
08:18 February 13, 2011 by marimay
hmm there are paranoid loonies on this site lol
08:32 February 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy
@Marimay

I totally agree. I thought it was only me. Good thing guns are more diffciult to acquire here than in the states.
10:37 February 13, 2011 by Kaaihueh
The big issue there is law and order. Who will provide enough law and order to restore tourism? Right now the country is vulnerable. Regressed to an infantile state, Egypt will succumb to the first type of government structure that appears. Oppression is much easier to create when a country has no structure. After the great exodus of the thousands of people seeking hope and a new life, the remainder of the country will then be prey to likes of such leadership like the Taliban. Democracy is still far,far away. Young minds hunger for meaning, principles, direction and ideals. This is the right time for any type of ideology.
11:05 February 13, 2011 by catjones
Funny, most of the comments here seem to know exactly what Egypt's future will be, yet none of them predicted the revolt.
11:49 February 13, 2011 by philosofer
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:50 February 13, 2011 by marimay
wow, philosofer, do you always wear your ass for a hat?
12:10 February 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy
I suggest people go to Wikapedia and type in prophets of Islam. It's quite an eye opener for the muslim bashers. Jesus, Moses, John the baptist, Issac, Job etc etc, all holy men in the eyes of Islam. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all branches from the same tree. Maybe if people opened their eyes there wouldn't be so paranoid.
13:05 February 13, 2011 by philosofer
@marimay

That what you and your people are wearing. We don't wear anything like that and we do shower atleast once a day.

@liberalguy

Who the f..k are kidding? The next time you people need refuge, food or money I suggest you just pray, ok? Just don't crawl to us infidels, ok?
13:20 February 13, 2011 by hanskarl
Here is the real issue from the Haaretz Daily in Israel under the title "Mubarak slammed U.S. in phone call with Israeli MK before resignation."

The URL link is (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/mubarak-slammed-u-s-in-phone-call-with-israeli-mk-before-resignation-1.342831)

It is a very interesting read and it gives a clear perspective from someone who "has been there."
13:28 February 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:02 February 13, 2011 by marimay
I'm late to the party...

Liberal guy is right, though. I was raised catholic, but doesn't mean I'm going to live in ignorance for the rest of my life.

It is nice not to live in fear. One should try to make the unknown known. You can't live life from behind a gun, or a religious book for that matter...
14:50 February 13, 2011 by Willissteel
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:57 February 13, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Wow,it looks like I missed a lot of action in this thread...

and please, Nobody is SCARED of Europe becoming a Sharia State. There are forms of dislike that aren't Primal Fear. I fear Grizzly Bears, not men so insecure they need to cover their women in a black cloth from head to toe.

For example, I also don't like the taste of Brussel Sprouts. No Fear, just a dislike of the taste. And if they are served for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner, I would leave. Simple.

2. Who cares if Jesus is in the Koran or if Mohammad is in the Bible. Is that supposed to make anybody feel better about wearing a Burqa or getting stoned to death for adultery?

3. I predicted the Revolt. And I am going 1 step Further, with another prediction. Within the next 25 Years, a revolt by Socialist Islam will claim a European Country, maybe even Germany.
15:45 February 13, 2011 by Willissteel
@liberaguy

Hey there Mr. elton john alike, I guess the well integrated muslims in the UK is a perfect example for us all to follow right? Really, Just who are you freaking kidding huh? I have seen how screwed up you country is by the very same people that you passionately defended. Well, Mr. educated one, are you blind or just plainly obtuse so you can't see what happenning right in front of you? What was David Cameron said early this week about the muslims i'm curious? The problem with europe today is that it's full of half-witted like you! Yea, go ahead half-witted, keep catering to "the religion of peace" may be you too going to get 72 virgins some day, chances are they will send you there themselves!
17:18 February 13, 2011 by marimay
Yes, you are obviously a much better human being.
17:56 February 13, 2011 by LiberalGuy
@Willisteel.

Good to see you back.

The history of all religions is filled with men explotiting the faithful to forward their own agendas. The word infidel has it's origins in about 1425-1475 from the latin word infidelis. It was used then as a word to label and prosecute non christrians. Now fast forward to modern day and corrupt men now use the word to label non muslims. It doesn't make it rigth or acceptable, it's just another example of people exploiting religion for their own means. Instead of having a discussion on how to bring people, cultures, and religions closer together, you seeem happy to demonize the muslims. I am church of England, I've gone to Glaswgow Rangers games to prove it, it doesn't mean that i have to hate every non christian cause they believe something different than me. All you are doing in demonizing the muslims, is the same thing hitler did to the Jews.

And by the way, if you can't think of something thoughtful to say, maybe you shouldn't say anything. You might have more firends that way.

I welcome debate, not silly insults
13:03 February 14, 2011 by westconser
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:14 February 15, 2011 by marimay
Are you suuuure....
14:07 February 15, 2011 by LiberalGuy
@westconser

hmmm, i thought Glasgow was in Scotland, not England. So I guess that would make me Scotish not english right??... But please mr educated tell me otherwise
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