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President Wulff slams German policy toward Arab despots

The Local · 1 Mar 2011, 08:14

Published: 01 Mar 2011 08:14 GMT+01:00

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"The fact is that we in Europe, in Germany, have given positive assessments to systems that deserved criticism," he told German public radio on Tuesday after returning from a trip to the Gulf states of Kuwait and Qatar.

He said Berlin had often judged countries stable "although we are now seeing that they were completely unstable due to corrupt leadership."

Wulff said it was important to look carefully at each individual country in the Arab world instead of lumping them into one basket. "We have to learn much more about this part of the world because it is in Europe's interest to do so," he said.

The president had praise for Qatar, whose emir he described as working toward a peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures. He said in Kuwait he was able to speak frankly about issues and meet with representatives of civil society groups.

"I think you can achieve a lot more through that than by trying to assess the situation from a desk somewhere," he said.

He had critical words for Muammar Qaddafi, saying the Libyan leader had lost legitimacy and, in fact, contact with reality.

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"When violence against peaceful demonstrators is used, when police or soldiers shoot at peace-loving people, we need to cut off contact," he said. It was for that reason that during his trip Wulff did not go to Bahrain, whose leader has used force against pro-democracy demonstrators there.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:52 March 1, 2011 by auniquecorn
OH, there you are, I thought you fell of the face of the earth.
13:31 March 1, 2011 by Surferjoe
How courageous of President Wulff to say this now after the shoe has dropped in the middle east. The time to say something was * before * change became inevitable. Kibitzing after the fact is very cheap.
17:04 March 1, 2011 by Louis Prince
Surferjoe, I have to agree, it's rising to an occasion thats already finished, a polititian should try and change things before it changes for the worse. But atleast he said something, this guy didn't realy impress me to date though.
18:36 March 1, 2011 by michael4096
Wulff has been more outspoken than most western politicians about this.

He is still the only one that will stand up and call the "islam as a political ideology" the canard it is.
20:34 March 1, 2011 by wood artist
Hey, at least he acknowledges that the government didn't do it right. That's more than good old "W" ever did.

I suspect that the new situation throughout the Arab lands is causing a whole lot of re-thinking. Was trading security and oil for stability the best plan, in either the short term or long term? Looking more and more like the answer is no.

Assuming that's true, every government is going to have to re-think how to address issues like this. Obviously what's been done is done, so learning from it is about the only thing to do now. Can't change history.

00:03 March 2, 2011 by Acushla
There never will be lasting peace in Egypt and the Arab States now. There will be more persecutions and killings with the EU and USA behaving as they did in the past. Lara Logan was called a Jew in Egypt when she was raped by the democracy in action men. This shows the mentality.
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