Cairo - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle held out the prospect of fresh investment and trade Monday if Egypt continues on the road of democratic progress, ahead of talks with new President Mohamed Morsi.
Westerwelle's two-day visit, billed as the first by a Western foreign minister since last month's watershed presidential election, is a “signal” of commitment by Europe's top economy to Egypt's political “transformation”.
“We want to support Egypt and we all know that there are very many companies in Germany which are very much interested in investments in Egypt and they need sustainable development, a stable democracy, and this is my main message,” he told reporters after talks with his counterpart Mohammed Kamel Amr.
Westerwelle, who arrived in Cairo amid an escalating power struggle between Morsi and the long-dominant military, called Egypt “the key country for the success of the Arab Spring”.
“The people in Egypt... asked for democratic participation but they also asked for economic and social participation and Germany is very well experienced in economic development,” he said.
Westerwelle is to meet Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected civilian president, and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Tuesday.
Amr said Berlin's support was key.
“It is very clear that Germany is standing with Egypt in this remarkable transformation process. We are always looking for cooperation and help from such good friends,” he said.
Germany has been one of the biggest financial backers of Egypt's transition since the ouster of veteran president Hosni Mubarak last year but investment and tourism have lagged as a result of the political turmoil in the country.
Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood until he took office, made waves Sunday by ordering the return of the dissolved parliament in an open challenge to the military that had enforced a court decision last month to disband the Islamist-led legislature.
Egypt's top court Monday rejected the decree, setting Morsi on a collision course with the military which says the rule of law must be respected. - Sapa-AFP IOLSA