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Egypt was main issue in the Munich Security Conference.

Munich Security Conference 2011

Today ends  the 47th Munich Security Conference.  On Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Egypt’s pro-democracy demonstrations were “right” but that political change in the country must be “free of conflict”.

Merkel assured to the conference that there will be a change in Egypt, but in peace and with order.

The Chancellor made a wrong parallel  between the demonstrations that helped lead to the fall of the former East Germany and the ongoing protesters in Egypt.  East Germany was part of a divided Germany, and had been under the occupation of soviet and german communists, that is a totalitarian state.  The protestors in Germany were germans trying to recuperte their country. They were patriots.  In the case of Egypt,  the rulers are authoritarian, not totalitarian, which is a big difference.

She sided with the protesters but added that the West can’t simply export its model of democracy to other regions.

The chancellor was also optimistic that key western values were going to prevail in Egypt due to technological change and the enforcement of global Internet access, plus the western model “that respects the dignity of each individual … still is the best to fight against terrorism and attacks against freedom.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s comments to the conference, which ends today , did not go into specifics on Egypt, but she spoke about the pitfalls of establishing a nascent democracy.  Clinton was more realistic by saying  “revolutions have overthrown dictators in the name of democracy only to be replaced by new authoritarian governments, ” adding that “transition to democracy will only work if it’s inclusive and transparent.”

During her speech, Secretary Clinton assigned a great role to social webistes in the promotion of democracy and liberty.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke at the conference about plans for mutually reinforcing missile defense treaties.

European Council President Herman van Rompuy repeated the stance of the EU by saying, “We stand behind the Egyptian people.”

“Events in Tunisia and Egypt show that stability can result in immobility,” Rompuy said. “Therefore stability alone cannot be the ultimate answer. There is a difference between stability and sustainability”.

Rompuy also spoke about the security and stability of the European Union EU, a stability he said, which is largely based on the strength of the euro as a currency, and based on the fact that the EU still has candidate nations eager to join.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said efforts to prevent Islamic extremism have failed in the UK largely because of willingness to segregate.

“We need a clear sense of national identity that is open to everyone,” Cameron said, in order to prevent non-violent extremists from becoming violent extremists.

PM Cameron argued that Europe has been too tolerant for too long of organizations that do not share the Western ideals of democracy and equal rights.  He assigned the problem to the  ideology of extremism, not to Islam.