Merkel visit also aims to strengthen business ties
CAIRO: Underlining her country’s commitment to the Middle East peace process, German chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Egypt for talks with President Mubarak later this week – the fifth visit in less than twelve months between the two leaders.
“It’s one of the most important points of our governance to revive the peace process, said Bernd Erbel Germany’s ambassador to Egypt, at a press conference Wednesday.
He added that a major push to revive the peace process needs to be made concurrently with efforts to extinguish infighting between Palestinian factions, and noted that the push for peace has to be made before the next American presidential campaign, which will likely stall efforts. “The quartet alone cannot solve the peace problem . we need the co-operation of countries in the region, he said, adding that Egypt was the most important partner for peace in the Middle East.
“Questions of foreign policy will be in the foreground.
Germany took over the European Union’s rotating presidency earlier this year. Merkel will also meet with Arab League leader Amr Moussa.
She will be joined by a delegation of business leaders, who will be eager to strengthen business ties between the two nations, which have “increased enormously in recent years, said Ebel.
Last year, exports from Egypt to Germany jumped 25 percent and imports of German goods into Egypt rose 20 percent. Meanwhile, German investment in Egypt rose to 113 euros – an increase of 300 percent over the previous year, says Dominik Mutter, the German embassy’s economic counselor.
“This is obviously a very steep increase, and we hope this will continue.
Designed to “broaden the scope of economic relations between the two countries, 30 business leaders from top German companies will accompany Merkel, adds Mutter. The delegation will feature business leaders in tourism, energy, ship building and finance.
“What Egypt needs is not so much money, but a transfer of technology, says Erbel.