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British delegation discuss Muslim Brotherhood report with Egyptian MPs

A delegation from the British House of Common paid the first visit of its kind to Egypt's newly-elected parliament, discussing issues around terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 16 Jan 2016
Egyptian Parliment
An archival for Egypt's parliment from inside(Photo: Al Ahram)
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A delegation from the British House of Commons met with Egypt's parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Al on Saturday to discuss several issues, including last month's British government report on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The delegation, led by Conservative Party MP Alan Duncan, also met with a number of Egyptian deputies who are members of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.

According to a press release, the meeting with speaker Abdel-Al, held in the 25 January meeting hall, was attended by British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson. "Duncan offered his congratulations to Abdel-Al for his election as speaker and for Egypt on completing the third part of its political map," said the press release.

Duncan was also cited as vowing that British MPs will play a positive role in restoring the influx of British tourists to Egypt in the near future.

The UK decided to suspend British tourist flights to the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh after the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula last November. British officials claimed that a bomb led to the destruction of the Russian Airbus.

British MPs were also cited as underlining the role of Egypt in fighting terrorism and recovering its leading position as a regional power in the Middle East.

Mohamed Al-Orabi, chairman of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee and a former foreign minister, told reporters that he and a number of MPs discussed last month's British government report on the Muslim Brotherhood, which stated that membership or links to the group should be considered a possible indicator of extremism.

"We told them that all of Egypt welcomed the conclusions reached by this report, which is the first of its kind in European terms, and that it proved that Egypt was correct that association with the Muslim Brotherhood represents the first step towards espousing militant jihadist ideology, and is an indicator of extremism, and that the movement is deliberately opaque and habitually secretive," said Al-Orabi.

"British MPs also spoke highly of the current political stability in Egypt and have vowed to play a constructive role in resuming British tourist flights into Egypt," added Al-Orabi.

Al-Orabi also indicated that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's visit to London last December should have opened a new page in Egyptian-British relations. "We talked of the necessity of building on this visit and developing a strategic partnership between the two countries," said Al-Orabi.

Meanwhile, Abdel-Al received a phone call from Martin Chungong, secretary-general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), to discuss restoring relations between the Egyptian parliament and the IPU.

"The two sides discussed the return of Egypt's full membership in the IPU," said a press release.

The release indicated that Ambassador Omar Mokhtar, a senior advisor with the IPU, will meet with Abdel-Al to complete the procedures necessary to restore Egypt's full membership of the IPU.

The press release indicated that Abdel-Al is currently preparing for an official visit by IPU President Saber Chowdhury to discuss boosting cooperation between the Egyptian parliament and the IPU.

 

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