German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to embrace democracy and human rights, amid a wave of violence that has left over 50 people dead around Egypt.
Speaking at a joint press conference Wednesday after her meeting with Morsi in Berlin, Merkel said continued aid could be dependent on Cairo firming up its human rights record and engaging the country’s vocal opposition.
Germany is one of three biggest aid suppliers to Egypt, after the United States and the European Union, and Morsi’s trip was meant in part to obtain obtain German assurances of continued aid.
“One thing that is important for us is that the channels of dialogue are always open with all political forces in Egypt, so that the different political forces can play their role,” Merkel said.
The German leader went on to say Berlin would like to see Egypt embrace human rights, the free practice of religion and establish a government based on the rule of law.
Morsi made it clear in response that he would not share power with a coalition government.
“In Egypt there is a stable government working day and night in the interest of all Egyptians,” he said.
His two-day visit was cut in half so that he could return to his country and tackle the troubles he faces at home after last weekend, in which over 50 people were killed in riots.
Israel Radio reported renewed clashes in Egypt Thursday morning as security forces used teargas in an attempt to quell stone-throwing demonstrators.
Morsi was also challenged about comments he made about Jews in a 2010 interview in which he described Zionists as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”
In another recording earlier that year Morsi urged that Egyptians should nurse their children on “hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews. They must be breast-fed hatred.”
Morsi said the statements, which recently came to light, had been taken out of context.
“I am not against Judaism as a religion,” he said at the press conference. “I am not against Jews practicing their religion. I was talking about anybody practicing any religion who spills blood or attacks innocent people — civilians. I criticize such behavior.”