Egypt criticises AP for ‘tendentious’ title of its interview with FM Shoukry on climate, jailed activist

Ahram Online , Thursday 10 Nov 2022

Egypt criticised the Associated Press (AP) for the “misleading and tendentious” headline it gave to its interview with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

Sameh Shoukry, Egypt Foreign Minister and COP27 president. AP
Sameh Shoukry, Egypt Foreign Minister and COP27 president. AP


 In the interview, which was given on Thursday, Shoukry discussed climate issues and jailed activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah. 

The AP had entitled its interview with Shoukry “Drinks at Egypt climate talks now free, jailed activist not” before changing the title later so that it reads “Egypt: COP27 Focus should be climate, not jailed activist”.

In his interview with AP, Shoukry said food prices have been slashed by 50 percent and drinks will be provided for free starting today following complaints from participants.

Shoukry took a swipe at media outlets he said "had decided that the issue of climate change is not as important as the issue of the provision of foods and drink for delegates and for participants.''

In a statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that AP had set a “clear example of lack of professionalism and deplorable partiality”.

Egypt has been facing foreign pressure to release renowned activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who had been handed a final five-year prison sentence late last year for joining a terrorist group and spreading false news inside and outside the country.

Despite the increasing media attention Abdel-Fattah's case has received from foreign media during the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), Shoukry has repeatedly said that the focus in the conference should be on the existential threat of climate change.

``I concentrate on highlighting the importance of the COP and trying to the focus attention of the parties and the international community and the civil society on the existential challenge related to climate change. I think it is beneficial for achieving our objectives that we continue to focus on this issue. This is why we are here,'' Shoukry told AP.

In an interview with CNBC on Sunday, Shoukry affirmed that prison authorities are providing the required healthcare to Abdel-Fattah.

On Tuesday, Egypt's mission to the UN in Geneva rejected a statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk to immediately release Abdel-Fattah. 

Alaa Abdel-Fattah's family say that he has been on hunger strike for the seventh month in a row. They also say that he has gone on water strike since the beginning of COP27.

Alaa's sister, Sanaa Seif, had raised her brother's issue at COP27 earlier this week during a session organised by the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.

Since the launch of the National Dialogue and revival of the Presidential Pardon Committee in April, Egypt has released hundreds of pretrial detainees. In addition, President El-Sisi pardoned a number of renowned convicted activists.

Short link: