Mursi due in Germany on visit shortened by Egypt crisis

Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:40pm EST
 

By Marwa Awad and Alexandra Hudson

CAIRO/BERLIN (Reuters) - President Mohamed Mursi is to leave Egypt's political crisis behind on Wednesday with a short trip to Germany to seek urgently needed foreign investment and convince Europe of his democratic credentials.

But with the Egyptian army chief warning on Tuesday that the state was on the brink of collapse after days of lethal street violence, Mursi cancelled plans to go on to Paris from Berlin and will instead hurry back to Cairo later in the day.

Fifty-two people have been killed in unrest surrounding the two-year anniversary of Egypt's popular revolution, whose values Mursi's critics say he has betrayed.

His supporters say protesters want to overthrow Egypt's first democratically elected leader, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood that was banned under former President Hosni Mubarak but has come to dominate Egypt since his downfall in 2011.

Mursi on Monday declared a month-long state of emergency in three violence-ridden cities on the Suez Canal - Port Said, Ismailia and Suez, imposing a curfew and allowing soldiers to arrest civilians.

The turmoil eased on Tuesday but the instability has stirred unease in the West about the direction of the Arab world's most populous country, where a currency slump has compounded severe economic problems.

Mursi will be keen to allay those fears when he meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel and powerful industry groups in Berlin.

"TURBULENCE"   Continued...

 
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi answers reporters' questions after meeting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels September 13, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir