CAIRO/BERLIN - President Mohamed Morsi left Egypt's
political crisis behind on Wednesday with a short trip to Germany to seek
urgently needed foreign investment and convince Europe of his democratic
But with the Egyptian army chief warning on Tuesday that the
state was on the brink of collapse after days of lethal street violence, Morsi cancelled plans to go on to Paris from Berlin and will instead hurry back to
Cairo later in the day.
Fifty-two people have been killed in unrest
surrounding the two-year anniversary of Egypt's popular revolution, whose values Morsi 's critics say he has betrayed.
His supporters say protesters want
to overthrow Egypt's first democratically elected leader, who hails from the
Muslim Brotherhood that was banned under former President Hosni Mubarak but has
come to dominate Egypt since his downfall in 2011.
Morsi on Monday
declared a month-long state of emergency in three violence-ridden cities on the
Suez Canal - Port Said, Ismailia and Suez, imposing a curfew and allowing
soldiers to arrest civilians.
The turmoil eased on Tuesday but the
instability has stirred unease in the West about the direction of the Arab
world's most populous country, where a currency slump has compounded severe
Morsi will be keen to allay those fears when he meets
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and powerful industry groups in
"President Morsi is very welcome in Germany,"
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told Reuters in an interview last
"He is the first democratically elected president in the history of
Egypt. We all know that a revolution means a lot of turbulence ... Of course we
are not happy with everything that has been decided in the last few months in
Egypt but it is necessary to seek solutions, increase the dialogue." Germany has
praised Morsi's efforts in mediating a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians
in Gaza, but became concerned at Morsi's efforts last year to expand his powers
and fast-track a constitution with an Islamist tint, something that his critics
say does not reflect Egypt's communal diversity.
remarks against Jews and Zionists in 2010, when he was a senior Brotherhood
official, disturbed many in Germany, whose Nazi past and strong support of
Israel make it highly sensitive to anti-Semitism.
leaders see potential in Egypt but are concerned about political instability
"At the moment many firms are waiting on political developments
and are cautious on any big investments," said Hans Heinrich Driftmann,
president of Germany's Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).
Africa expert Steffen Behm said no companies were leaving Egypt but none were
newly setting up there either.
Outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday that any collapse in Egypt
would send shock waves across the wider region.
"(But) it cannot in any
way be overlooked that there is a large number of Egyptians who are not
satisfied with the direction of the economy and the political reform," she
"This is not an easy task. It's very difficult going from a closed
regime and essentially one-man rule to a democracy that is trying to be born and
learn to walk," said Clinton.
"You have to represent all of the people
and the people have to believe that ... You have to have a constitution that
respects and recognizes the rights of all people and doesn't in any way
marginalize any group."
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