German foreign minister Westerwelle calls for restraint in Egypt as protests continue | News | DW | 01.08.2013
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German foreign minister Westerwelle calls for restraint in Egypt as protests continue

Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is in Egypt for talks aimed at resolving unrest following the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. It comes as police consider action to disperse pro-Morsi protesters.

Speaking after talks with his counterpart Nabil Fahmi in Cairo on Thursday, Westerwelle called on the Egyptian government not to employ force to resolve the political upheaval gripping the country.

"We want there to be no use of force and for there to be a fresh democratic start in Egypt with elections, where all political forces can be involved," Westerwelle said.

He also stated Germany's willingness to give support on a "path towards democracy and prosperity."

"No selective justice"

Speaking about the treatment of opposition members, Westerwelle emphasized that "any appearance of selective justice [had to be] avoided."

Fahmi responded by saying that there was "no justice of vengeance and no selective justice" and that the law applied to everyone.

Westerwelle is also due to meet with interim President Adly Mansour, Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei and army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who led the coup against Morsi.

He will, however, not be meeting with Morsi, despite a request to do so. Egyptian officials say the ousted leader, who is being held at an undisclosed location, is undergoing "legal questioning."

Watch video 01:45

EU foreign policy chief visits Morsi

Morsi was visited on Tuesday by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who said he was "well".

Continuing unrest

Westerwelle is the first Western foreign minister to visit the country after the ouster of Morsi by the military on July 3.

Since the coup, hundreds of thousands of pro-Morsi supporters have held protests around the country, with hundreds of deaths in accompanying violence.

On Wednesday, the government declared two long-standing sit-ins by protesters in Cairo to be a danger to national security, appearing to signal imminent action. It ordered the Interior Ministry to "address these dangers and put an end to them," but gave no time frame.

So far, police have done no more than urge protesters to leave their camps. Over the past month, however, they have rounded up many leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, fuelling global concern that the government wants to crush the group despite promises to include the Islamists in the transition to full democracy.

Authorities brought formal charges against the Brotherhood's top three leaders on Wednesday, two of whom are in custody.

tj/hc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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