British ambassador to Egypt John Casson has pledged his country’s support for Egypt and called on the international community to stand by the country in its fight against terrorism and economic problems.
"The world can’t leave Egypt to deal with these problems alone – to beat terrorism we have to keep Egypt’s economy strong," statement by the British embassy read on Tuesday.
During a one-day conference hosted by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism called ‘Planning for Growth – Egypt’s Tourism 2016,’ Casson, along with top aviation and tourism officials, discussed the government's ongoing security enhancement initiatives with a focus on airport security.
The conference was also attended by Russian ambassador to Egypt Sergey Kirpichenko.
“There remains great interest in Egypt and in Britain in the work to restart flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. I know how important this is to Egypt’s tourist industry and indeed the whole economy," said Casson, referring to the UK’s suspension of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh following the crash of a Russian plane in Sinai late last year.
The British official praised the commitment and professionalism of the Egyptian government in cooperating with the UK and in understanding that the number one priority of any government is to protect its citizens.
"As a result we have together made great progress along this road to solving the problem, and contacts are continuing at the highest level every day to finish the journey and restart flights as soon as possible,” says Casson.
Britain, Germany, Russia and other countries are taking concrete steps with the Egyptian government at the highest level to make Sharm El-Sheikh Airport a model for airport and aviation security, according to Casson.
The tourism sector suffered a number of setbacks in 2015, including several terrorist attacks by Sinai-based militants affiliated with the IS group, which claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian airliner travelling from Sharm El-Sheikh in October, which claimed 224 lives.
The incident prompted the UK, Russia and other countries to suspend flights to Egypt, leading to losses of LE2.2 billion ($283 million) a month, with tourists and tourism revenues halved in November and December, according to a tourism ministry statement.