No request received for Mubarak health check visit: Germany

Monday, February 7, 2011

BERLIN - Germany has not received any request from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to visit for an extended health checkup, a government spokesman said Monday - despite media speculation Mubarak might return to the country on medical grounds.

“There are no official or unofficial requests for such a visit,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert. “Therefore, there is no reason to deal hypothetically with this question.”

Mubarak has previously sought medical treatment in Germany, and in March 2010 spent three weeks at clinic in Heidelberg when he had his gall bladder removed.

Amid two weeks of protests demanding his ouster, several media reports have suggested that one possible scenario for the 82-year-old president was an extended trip to Germany on medical grounds.

Seibert welcomed the start of talks between the Egyptian government and opposition groups, but insisted that more had to follow.

“The German government is happy that this dialogue began yesterday, but this can surely just be a first step,” he said.

“It is clear that the Mubarak era is in its final phase.”

It was not up to Germany to influence the process of reform in Egypt, or nominate political leaders, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke.

“Egyptians did not take to the streets for the West to tell them who should lead them in future,” Peschke said.

Berlin reiterated expectations that any future Egyptian leaders maintained a “moderate” stance and continued to support the Middle East peace process.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said one lesson from the current situation might be to place an “even greater emphasis” on human rights in dealing with foreign governments.

The foreign ministry said that roughly 14,000 Germans remained in Egypt, of whom around 2,000 were permanent residents. Up to 50,000 German nationals were in Egypt when the political unrest began.

Filed under: Diplomacy

will not be displayed