German vice chancellor tackles human rights situation in meetings with Egyptian officials

Monday 18-04-2016 11:22 PM

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jan. 22 ,2015. Presidency Handout

CAIRO, Apr 18 (Aswat Masriya) - German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday that Egyptian officials' justification of human rights violations in Egypt are "not convincing". 

Gabriel began his visit to Cairo on Sunday heading a German delegation to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries. The delegation met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other Egyptian officials.

In a press conference on Monday, Gabriel said Germany is willing to stand by Egypt to achieve prosperity, pointing that it is linked to the development of the democratic process as a whole, human rights and freedom of opinion.

During Gabriel's meetings with Egyptian officials concerning the human rights situation and freedoms in Egypt, the officials described the security situation in Egypt as "difficult" and that all procedures taken were "necessary" to achieve security. Gabriel's comment was "this is not convincing".

Several western countries including the U.S scrutinized the human rights situation in Egypt.

In a statement last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, "I am deeply concerned by the deterioration in the human rights situation in Egypt in recent weeks and months."

In Monday's conference, Gabriel stressed the importance of moving forward towards a more democratic system and of differentiating between "terrorists" who commit violence against the state and "democrats" who want to be part of democratic growth. He said, "this is an ongoing debate with your government".

Addressing the case of slain Italian student Giulio Regeni, Gabriel said that similar incidents "terrify us" and harm Egypt's image, which reflects on the economy. He added that the solution in Regeni's case is to clarify the reasons that led to his death.

The young Italian researcher went missing in Cairo on Jan. 25, 2016, which marked the fifth anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Ten days later, Regeni's body was found, bearing signs of torture, in a roadside ditch on the outskirts of Cairo.

Italy threatened to take "immediate and proportionate" measures if the truth about Regeni's death did not transpire.

Though it is not yet clear who was behind Regeni's murder, Egypt's interior ministry was blamed by Italian media for being involved in his torture and death.

Gabriel said that the Egyptian government did not make a request relating to acquiring weapons from Germany. He pointed, however, that the topic was raised during the delegation's meeting with Egyptian officials.

Last December, the German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Company said it started manufacturing two submarines to be delivered to Egypt before the end of 2016.

The Vice Chancellor said in a press conference on Sunday that Germany did not impose restrictions on the provision of arms to Egypt.

The Egyptian president has invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Egypt soon, Gabriel also said yesterday.  

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