UK Prime Minister David Cameron said Egypt is key in the fight against extremism in the region, while also urging President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to respect human rights.
“The prime minister stressed Egypt’s pivotal role in the region, both economically and in the fight against Islamist extremism,” Cameron's spokesperson said in a statement. The meeting - held on the fringes of the annual UN General Assembly in New York - is the first between the two leaders since El-Sisi took office in early June.
El-Sisi earlier pledged all of Egypt's help to defeat terrorism.
In an interview with an American newspaper, the Egyptian president advised the US-led international coalition to extend its campaign beyond Syria and Iraq to reach Libya and Yemen.
Meanwhile, the UK has expressed concern over human rights abuses in the fight against terrorism, with UK officials calling on the Egyptian government to respect human rights after toppling president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Cameron urged El-Sisi ”to ensure human rights are respected in Egypt in the fight against extremism, including addressing the large numbers of people in custody and the widespread use of death sentences.”
“They also agreed that greater international effort needed to be applied to finding a political solution to the situation in Libya and tackling the threat of terrorism there,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Cameron stressed the UK’s wish to see a stable, prosperous and democratic Egypt, according to the statement.
“The prime minister said the UK was keen to expand practical partnerships to help Egypt succeed and to work with Egypt to encourage economic growth and create jobs for millions of young Egyptians,” it added.
During the meeting, Cameron raised a number of problems faced by British investors in Egypt. “Egypt needed to help open the door to deeper international assistance by repaying debts to British investors,” Cameron's spokesperson said.
The most recent figures show bilateral trade between the UK and Egypt is now worth £3 billion per year, with the UK’s export of goods reaching £1bn for the first time in 2010. The UK is believed to the largest non-Arab investor in Egypt.
There are over 900 British companies in the country operating in sectors ranging from oil and gas to education.