In the context of the major changes underway in Egypt, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel are travelling to Egypt today (23.02.) together with Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology Ernst Burgbacher.
In Cairo meetings are planned with Egypt’s Acting Prime Minister Ahmed Mohamed Shafiq, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, as well as Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States.
Talks are also planned with representatives of the opposition, including former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and members of the Egyptian blogosphere.
The ministers will also get a first-hand impression of the activities and prospects of German intermediary organizations and German companies in the country.
Federal Minister Niebel will also meet with the Minister of International Cooperation, Fayza Mohamed Aboulnaga, as well as with the Chairman of the Egyptian Ombudsman Office, Dr Mohamed Fayek, and with others who are politically active in civil society.
Before his departure Federal Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement:
“After the successful beginning of the revolution, we want to show that we will do everything we can to support the transition process in Egypt. On the one hand, it is important to support the democracy movement. On the other hand, economic prospects must be created so that the people in Egypt see that more democracy also leads to more prosperity. In Egypt I will hold talks with the transitional government, but also with representatives of the opposition. Our aim is to gain a comprehensive impression of the situation in the country and find out in which areas our assistance is welcome and necessary. We will offer assistance with building up a diverse civil society, but also especially with achieving economic success. The people should see that democracy and more freedom also mean better living conditions for themselves and their families.”
Before his departure Federal Minister Niebel issued the following statement:
“The German Government has reacted quickly to the new situation. I have seen to it that immediate measures have been taken, for example the creation of a regional fund containing 3.2 million euro. This fund can be used to support the projects of local political foundations. In Egypt we also support the rehabilitation of the Ombudsman Office of the National Council for Human Rights, an institution that as a point of contact for citizen complaints can promote transparency and thus contribute to the success of the transformation process. Right now it is important to open up new prospects for the younger generation through employment. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has created a fund for the region containing 8 million euro for this purpose. Also, a 20 million euro fund has been set up as a financing mechanism for small and micro credit loans. This will create many jobs in small and very small companies.”