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Egypt says has 'nothing to do' with German foundation's decision to close Cairo office

Ahram Online , Friday 13 May 2016
Egyptian Foreign Ministry
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry building in Cairo (File photo: Ahram)
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Egypt had "nothing to do" with the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation's decision to shut its office in Cairo earlier this year, as the decision was made by the foundation itself, the Egyptian embassy in Germany said late on Thursday.

Earlier on Thursday, the German foreign office summoned the Egyptian ambassador to Germany to discuss the closure of the German foundation's office in Cairo.

The foundation announced in January that it was closing its Cairo office because of strict government restrictions.

The German foreign office said in a statement that State Secretary Markus Ederer discussed with Ambassador Badr Abdel-Ati the possible reopening of the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation’s office, which is linked to the liberal Free Democrats Party.

The statement also said the foundations "need to be able to do [their work] in an environment of increasing political pressure on civil society."

In its Thursday statement, the Egyptian embassy said the decision earlier this year to shut the foundation's office was "an internal one made by the German foundation".

"The Egyptian government didn't ask it to leave the country as Egypt welcomes all German institutions and foundations to work on its soil, providing they adhere to the domestic laws which regulate NGO operations in Egypt," the embassy added. 

"The Egyptian ambassador had made it clear to the German authorities that any foreign NGO in Egypt can operate either through the 2002 law which regulates its work or through a mutual agreement signed between Egypt and the foreign country where the NGO was founded."

The German foundation, which is linked to the liberal Free Democrats Party, said on its website that it had moved its main office to Jordan in 2014, but had kept a small office in Egypt.

The German foreign office also said on Thursday that German government will continue its support of the “important work” of German political foundations in Egypt with “appropriate measures.”

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