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Main focus of Thursday, January 31, 2013

Morsi seeks support in Berlin

Merkel called for a "dialogue with all the political forces" in Egypt. (© AP/dapd)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi gave assurances during his visit to Germany on Wednesday that his country was on the path to becoming a civil, democratic, constitutional state. In recent days Egypt has been rocked by the most violent unrest since Morsi took office. His main objective in Berlin was to secure economic aid, commentators say, and demand that the West make any aid contingent on compliance with democratic rules.

Die Welt - Germany

Morsi needs the help of the West

The fact that President Morsi has come to Germany in the middle of renewed unrest in his own country underscores Egypt's dependence on the West, the conservative daily Die Welt writes: "Perhaps he dared to make the journey because he knows that a stable Egypt which does not pose a threat to Israel is valuable to Germany and the rest of the world. The silver lining on this dark cloud is that Germany and the other states of the West can turn the tables. The fading hopes of the Egyptian spring and the return of arbitrariness dressed in new clothes have done much harm to the country. By making itself unattractive it has practically brought to a standstill its most important source of revenue, namely tourism. Morsi knows that this factor, together with the major crisis of the entire Egyptian economy, could be the explosive that puts an end to the rule of the moderate and radical Islamists. ... When Morsi said in Berlin that Egypt will become a constitutional state, he certainly had his reasons. Nevertheless one must take him at his word. And the help he so badly needs can be attached to conditions." (31/01/2013)

Die Presse - Austria

Europe must use its clout

With a mixture of concessions and persistence, Merkel has shown how Europe should deal with the new powers that be in Egypt, the liberal-conservative daily Die Presse writes approvingly: "In her role as host Angela Merkel very politely made it clear that the Egyptian government must stick to the rules of democracy. The unspoken threat was that there would be no money otherwise. Germany only recently postponed debt relief for the country owing to the new repressive tendencies in Egypt. Both on stage and behind the scenes, it's important that Europe uses its leverage and lays out clear terms. The government in Cairo should only receive financial support if it respects the rights of Christians, secularists and the opposition. Any other approach would be a betrayal of all those who have taken to Egypt's streets to fight for freedom and against the establishment of an Islamist majority dictatorship." (31/01/2013)

Dnevnik - Slovenia

Listening to opposition is in Morsi's interest

If Morsi doesn't want to put his power at stake he must listen to the mood on the streets, the left-liberal daily Dnevnik stresses: "The street demonstrations in Egypt have become a part of the political dialogue that gets on the nerves of the current democratically elected government just as much as it annoyed the previous dictatorship. A revolutionary mood prevails in the country again. President Mohammed Morsi, who represents the state, can look for a language that reassures the demonstrators that they will have some say in decisions, rather than just being a cosmetic detail. He can also choose to ignore them. But in doing so he would lose his power over Cairo's streets and open the door for the army, which is dissatisfied with both political options in the country [the ruling Muslim Brothers and the opposition]. The Muslim Brothers need to find a common political language with the opposition, otherwise they will lose their power." (31/01/2013)

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