The German Embassy in Egypt welcomed the signing of an agreement for the return to work of German institutions in Egypt by the commissioner of the German foreign ministry for Middle East affairs, Philipp Ackermann, and Egypt’s ambassador, Badr Abdel-Ati, according to a statement released on Friday.
German ambassador Julius Georg Luy depicted the agreement as “the first and important step” for the resumption of German institutions working in Egypt. He also wished for the activation of the agreement to allow German institutions to resume their work for the benefit of the two countries without facing any obstacles.
The agreement came after the entrance of additional protocols to the Cultural Agreement signed between the governments of Egypt and Germany in 1959—after its adoption by both sides. It will serve as the legal framework for the work of German institutions in Egypt.
The statement noted that the agreement is the first step towards a solution for two staff members of the Konrad–Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation who were sentenced in absentia.
At the same time, this agreement is making progress in the way as many German institutions are resuming their work in Egypt, it added.
According to the statement, the status of German political institutions was among the topics discussed by the German chancellor during her visit to Cairo in early March, as she commended the work of the political organisations. She also recommended allowing consideration of the individual legal cases that have occurred in the past period that are still pending.
German political institutions are close to the German political parties but receive their funding from the German public treasury in accordance with the Bundestag and are independent of the German government in their programmes, the statement explained.
These institutions work in the field of political education and the promotion of talented people inside Germany; however, since 1961, there have been funds allocated to strengthen cooperation and dialogue at the international level, which means communication with government agencies, unions, and civil society outside Germany.
The Egyptian general prosecution has investigated a number of NGOs accused of receiving foreign funds illegally in 2011. Among these NGOs were foreign workers who closed their organisations and returned to their countries.
The case was reopened back in 2016, with which imposed the freezing of assets and travel bans on NGO workers. Civil society work in Egypt, especially in the freedoms and rights field, has been facing restriction during the past period, resulting in the referral of people to court, arrests, and closure orders.