Germany summons Egypt ambassador over NGO crackdown

The German Foreign Ministry summoned Ramzi Ezz Eddin, Egypt's ambassador to Berlin, on Friday and demanded an investigation into the storming and closing of the Cairo branch of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German non-profit organization.

A statement issued by the German Foreign Ministry expressed dismay and demanded an "immediate investigation into the incident."

It added the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle hopes that the situation will be resolved as quickly as possible so that the German-affiliated organization can continue its work.

Ezz Eddin told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he met with the German deputy foreign minister as Westerwelle was outside Germany on Friday.

The meeting lasted for half an hour, during which Ezz Eddin explained the circumstances surrounding the incident, he told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung has operated in Egypt since the 1980s and conducts both political and social activities.

The German deputy foreign minister expressed his deep regret and concern about the surprise inspection, Ezz Eddin said.

"I made clear that all international organizations operating in Egypt should abide by the law, and I explained the circumstances surrounding the incident," Ezz Eddin said.

The German official expressed hope that problem will be resolved quickly and will not affect other organizations, Ezz Eddin added.

Hans-Gert Pöttering, director of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and former President of the European Parliament, denounced the incident.

"This incident disturbed us a lot, and I call on the Egyptian authorities concerned to take the necessary action so that we can continue our work immediately," said Pöttering.

He added the incident "is not understandable," stressing that NGOs play an indispensable role in promoting democratic values and human rights in Egypt.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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