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German Foreign Minister Visits Mubarak

July 5, 2004

MUNICH, Germany (AP) _ The German foreign minister visited Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday at the Munich clinic where he is recovering from back surgery.

The two men discussed Iraq, the Gaza Strip and Mubarak’s health, according to Joschka Fischer.

The German minister said he told Mubarak that Egypt had a key role in determining ``whether the (Israeli) withdrawal from Gaza is carried out in an orderly way and effective security is implemented there.″

Egypt, which borders Gaza, has pledged to help train Palestinian security forces to ensure a smooth handover as part of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the desert strip and to close Jewish settlements there.

Mubarak’s doctors said the 76-year-old has been walking and doing exercises and is recovering well from a June 26 operation to repair a slipped disc.

``We spoke above all about his health,″ Fischer said after the meeting. ``Mr. Mubarak is doing very well. We are glad that he is on his way to recovery and will soon be able to go home.″

The doctor who performed the operation, Michael Mayer, said Mubarak has even taken to strolling through a nearby park as part of his rehabilitation routine.

Still, Mayer said Mubarak must stay for a few more days ``in order to return in top-fit condition.″ He said the president is expected to be back in Egypt by the end of the week.

Egyptian Health Minister Mohamed Awad Tag Eddin, who accompanied Mubarak to Germany, has said the president remains in close touch with Cairo and is still involved in running the country.

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