MPs ask for explanation regarding Canada's decision to ban travel from Egypt

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 12 Dec 2021

A number of Egyptian MPs teamed up on Sunday to voice their discontent regarding Canada’s decision to ban travel from Egypt and other African countries on 1 December due to concerns over the Omicron variant.

Egyptian parliament

In a statement before parliament, Karim Darwish, the head of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, said that “Canada took everyone by surprise when it announced that it has decided to add Egypt, Malawi, and Nigeria to a ‘travel ban list’ and that this decision came amid concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant.”

“I ask that Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry consult with the ambassador of Canada in Cairo on the reason and duration of this decision.”

“We are really surprised, and we think that this decision raises a lot of questions, as the World Health Organisation announced that no cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in Egypt so far, and that the country is taking ‘quick preventive measures,’” said Darwish.

Canada previously banned entry to travelers from Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Darwish revealed that he has contacted the Canadian parliament and that MPs there said they would communicate with the Canadian government to clarify the true reasons behind this decision.

“We also contacted the Egyptian embassy in Canada, but we did not receive adequate responses, or we can say we just received a diplomatic response,” said Darwish, adding that “putting Egypt on Canada’s travel ban list could have negative implications for the tourist industry.”

Independent MP Mostafa Bakri said Canada’s travel ban list including Egypt and a number of African countries is shocking.

“They took this decision even though Egypt is Canada’s top trading partner in Africa. This gives me the impression that this is may be a politically motivated decision and it needs an explanation and follow-up from the foreign ministry,” said Bakri.

Bakri also criticized a report issued by the Foreign Ministry of Holland on the situation of human rights in Egypt, saying the report is very aggressive and represents a part of an anti-Egypt campaign in European circles.

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