Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle spoke on the phone with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit today (3 February).
In view of the shocking images coming out of Cairo, Foreign Minister Westerwelle underlined emphatically that all violence had to stop. Assaults on peaceful demonstrators, the Minister went on to say, were under no circumstances acceptable. Westerwelle added that the freedom of the press particularly needed to be safeguarded and that it was thoroughly unacceptable for journalists to be attacked or arrested. German media too, he said, had been affected by such actions.
The Minister also made clear that nowwas the time for democratic change. He added that an orderly transition towards genuinedemocracy thus had to take place in dialogue with the opposition as soon as possible.
Following this conversation and a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Federal Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement in Madrid:
“Dialogue has to start now. Democratic change must be comprehensive, it must foster peace both at home and internationally and it must begin now.
It would be a disservice to the democratic movement in Egypt to create the impression that this movement arises from the West rather than from the Egyptian people themselves.
In view of the current crisis, we shall be working in close international coordination.”