When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived for the press conference in the Berlin chancellery last week, they were late. “We had a little delay,” apologised the Chancellor, “we had a problem with the elevator. We went up and down several times but finally, with the help of the second elevator, in the end managed to be here.” President Al-Sisi wore a broad grin on his face.
The symbolism of this was not lost on the political observer. For decades, from President Nasser to Sadat and Mubarak, the interim government under SCAF, President Morsi and now Al-Sisi, the relationship between Egypt and Germany has been constantly going up and down, and a chance to find the second elevator to finally reach a mutual position has so far not emerged.