German ambassador to Egypt Julius Georg Luy held a press conference in the German embassy in Cairo to talk about the main topics German chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in her scheduled visit to Egypt. The ambassador stated that the Merkel and Al-Sisi will tackle economic, political, and security topics.
“She will discuss the political and economic relations. There will be a press conference following her meeting with Al-Sisi, and she will hold another meeting with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria,” Luy noted.
On the German institutions based in Egypt, Luy said that this issue is considered one of the most important matters to be discussed during Merkel’s visit to Egypt. He added that all German institutions in Egypt are government-sponsored, meaning they are organisations affiliated with the German government and are receiving funding from it.
“In 2011, we were surprised to know that the Egyptian government was mistrustful of the work of these organisations, which receive funds from the German government. However, its administrative staff is not affiliated with the government. We have seen honest efforts from the Egyptian government towards removing their suspicions of these institutions,” he added.
Regarding the security cooperation between Egypt and Germany, Luy stressed that his country is supporting Egypt in its war against terrorism. He added that the security cooperation will focus on exchanging intelligence information between both countries and will include cooperation to secure Egypt’s airports and borders.
He noted that “some aspects regarding the security cooperation between Germany and Egypt will be disclosed, and others won’t be. Disclosed elements will include things such as exchanging intelligence information and the bilateral coordination to counter illegal immigration and terrorism,” he noted.
On whether or not the German government considers Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated organisations located in Germany to be terrorist groups, Luy noted that his country is following specific measures through which it can classify whether an organisation is a terroristic one or not.
“Through intensive monitoring operations German intelligence conducted against these organisations, it was evident that they showed no signs of promoting violence. The German government, as a result, is not able to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation,” he stressed.
Germany is not the only European country to not declare Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated organisations as terroristic; other European countries adopted the same stance, as they stated there was no evidence that these organisations showed any signs of intending to use violence, the ambassador added.
“All MB-affiliated organisations based in Germany are closely monitored by German intelligence apparatuses. If any violent approaches are shown, or even intended, the German government will firmly retaliate,” Luy stressed.
Concerning the refugees crisis in Germany, Luy noted that his country will not be able to take in the huge number of people seeking refuge in Germany. He added that the government has, therefore, deported those who had entered illegally and those who had arrived to improve their own financial statuses; however, those suffering from political persecution are welcomed in Germany.
In terms of the religious discourse, Luy asserted that Egypt is playing an important role in bringing across the real image of Islam, adding that Germany is following Al-Sisi’s questions regarding renewing Islamic rhetoric and Al-Azhar’s responses to these questions.
“Al-Sisi is trying to achieve progress in the field of religious freedom. We consider what took place in Al-Arish—when Coptic families abandoned the city due to militants’ threats—and during the Cairo church attack as terrorist attacks against Egypt’s national unity,” he stressed.
Regarding the economic cooperation between both countries, Luy asserted that the power stations that the German company Siemens will establish in Egypt will cost $8bn Euros.
“Three power stations will be established in the regions of Beni Suef, Lake Borollus, and in the New Administrative Capital. The establishment of these stations comes in the context of a signed agreement between the Egyptian government and Siemens; a commercial agreement of which the costs will be covered by the Egyptian government,” he concluded.