Germany pledges 240 million euros for Egyptian development

BERLIN – Germany agreed Friday to rechannel Egyptian debts towards development projects, at a meeting between Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Amr in Berlin.

The two parties signed an agreement in which Germany affirmed, subject to government consultations, that “240 million euros (US$341 million dollars) of outstanding loans may be swapped for development purposes over a period of 4 years.”

In the so-called Berlin Declaration, both sides agreed that “the democratic change taking place in Egypt will result in close and constructive cooperation in international organizations, including in the fields of the rule of law, human rights and social and economic development.”

“It will be of paramount importance to improve the economic conditions of people in the region to foster and stabilize the path to democracy,” the document added.

Germany also offered support to establish a forensic lab and relevant training, in response to “Egypt's urgent needs.”

The ministers also stressed the importance of “promoting future legal cooperation,” between their justice ministries, and said this would 'make an important contribution to their amicable relations.'

With regard to the region as a whole, Germany and Egypt decided to work together within the framework of the EU's 'Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity' with the southern Mediterranean.

Westerwelle and Amr also pledged their commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pushed for an 'urgent resumption of negotiations based on clear parameters, a clear timeline and an effective mechanism for negotiations.'

Germany and Egypt agreed to launch an annual strategic dialogue between their foreign ministries, and to hold a second round of discussions in Berlin in the near future.

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