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Germany's Schröder Arrives In Egypt

First day of Middle East tour: Chancellor Schröder in Egypt

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder arrived in Cairo Saturday evening, on the first leg of a four-day tour of the Middle East, accompanied by a large business delegation. He was met at the airport by Egyptian Premier Atef Ebeid. In a speech given that evening Schröder expressed his dismay at the terrorist attack in Haifa. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of children," Schröder said.

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder arrived in Cairo Saturday evening, on the first leg of a four-day tour of the Middle East, accompanied by a large business delegation. He was met at the airport by Egyptian Premier Atef Ebeid.

Speaking at a Reunification Day reception at the residence of the German Ambassador, Schröder said his trip to Egypt and a number of other Arab countries had begun on a very sad note, saying there had been a terrorist attack in Haifa Saturday afternoon which had caused a large number of casualties, including many children. "I speak to you straight from the heart," Schröder said. "I think regardless of where we stand politically we are deeply saddened by the loss of children and our hearts go out to the mothers of fathers of these children as well as to the families of all the victims."

Schröder said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has recurrently tried to break through this spiral of violence, adding that he hopes Mubarak will continue the important work he is doing to promote peace and stability in the region.

Schröder noted that he had actually come to Egypt to tell our friends here about the good fortune Germany had in being reunified and the progress Germany has made over the past thirteen years. He said Germany's friendship with Egypt has been very important all along and that the two countries have become important trading partners for each other.

Schröder is scheduled to hold political talks with Premier Ebeid and President Mubarak on Sunday. A highlight of his visit will be the joint opening of the German University in Cairo. Schröder said he was happy to note that the Premier of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Erwin Teufel, was also able to come to Cairo, noting that he had been instrumental in bringing about the creation of the new university. Schröder's visit to Egypt will end Sunday with a working luncheon and a joint press conference.

During President Mubarak's visit to Berlin in February this year, he and Schröder had agreed to attend the opening of the Egyptian-German University in Cairo together on October 5. Schröder last visited Egypt during a Middle East tour in October three years ago.

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