Merkel Considering Halting Arms Exports to Egypt

German chancellor says that stopping arms shipments to Egypt would be an appropriate way to pressure the country to end the violence.

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Elad Benari,

Chancellor Angela Merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Israel news photo: Flash 90

German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that stopping arms shipments to Egypt would be an appropriate way to put pressure on the country as it is gripped by deadly violence, AFP reported.

Speaking to German television station ZDF, Merkel said arms exports to Egypt could be "subject to measures which clearly show our skepticism about what is happening."

"There will probably be a meeting of European Union foreign ministers" in the coming days to assess the Egyptian situation, she was quoted as having said.

"We will examine what steps can be taken... we must act together and take the same measures," said Merkel, who described the situation in Egypt as "worrying."

The European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, on Friday said she had asked the 28-nation bloc to agree "appropriate measures" in response to escalating violence in Egypt.

The EU has said top officials from its 28 members will meet Monday to review the crisis in Egypt, notably looking at convening a meeting of EU foreign ministers as soon as possible.

More than 750 people were killed in four days of violence after a military and police crackdown on ousted President Mohammed Morsi’s protesters.

In an interview with the German weekly magazine Focus, published on Sunday, the German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, said that Berlin's export of arms to Egypt was "already restrictive."

"And it will remain so, particularly in view of current developments," he added, according to AFP.

Germany's economic ministry indicated on Saturday that it had frozen all decisions on arms exports to Egypt.

European Union leaders, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso, warned Cairo on Sunday that the EU was ready to "reexamine" its relations with Egypt if there was no end to the current violence.