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UK concerned about “closure of political space” in Egypt

After meeting Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmy, the UK foreign secretary expresses concern about the standing of Egypt's judiciary, alleged human rights violations, and restrictions on freedoms

Amer Sultan in London , Thursday 15 May 2014
Hague, Fahmy
Foreign Secretary William Hague meeting Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.(Photo:Courtesy of gov.UK)
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The UK has expressed its concern about the current political situation in Egypt, pledging to continue helping Egyptians to move to full democracy.

In a statement after meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Nabil Fahmy, William Hague, the UK foreign secretary, called for the independence of the judiciary in Egypt.

“Among other issues, I raised my concern with Minister Fahmy about the general closure of political space in Egypt in recent months,” the statement said.

During his two-day visit to London, Fahmy met UK Minister for International Development Alan Duncan and National Security Adviser Sir Kim Darroch.

The talks concentrated on the bilateral Egypt-UK relationship, foreign policy and security issues, and Egypt's transition process.

London has been calling for an inclusive political process since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

During the last few weeks, the UK government has been critical of alleged human rights violations in Egypt, expressing "deep concern," particularly about mass death sentences.

Hague believes these sentences, which were discussed during the meeting with Fahmy, damage the reputation of Egypt’s judicial system.

Hague's statement said his country “will continue to support the Egyptian people’s aspiration for a full and functioning democracy in all its aspects."

It also called on Egyptian authorities to respect commitments in the new constitution, including “an independent judiciary, a vibrant civil society and a free media.”

This is the first visit by Egypt's foreign minister to London since the toppling of Morsi amid mass protests against his rule.

Hague described bilateral ties as strong and “underpinned by a frank and honest relationship.”

“I value our engagement with Egypt on foreign policy and security,” his statement said.

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