Britain to ensure Egypt gets international support

Amer Sultan in London, Monday 30 Jul 2012

Britain's foreign secretary William Hague will visit Egypt to discuss on strengthening ties between the two countries

British gas
British Petroleum (BP) and British Gas (BG) are responsible for over 40% of Egypt’s oil and gas production. (Photo: British gas)

The United Kingdom will renew its pledge to ensure Egypt receives more international support during its transitional period, British foreign secretary William Hague will tell Mohammed Morsi when he visits Egypt.

A spokesperson from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed to Ahram Online that Hague will soon make his first visit to Egypt to since the presidential elections.

“We want to continue to strengthen ties with Egypt across the board; from economics, to regional politics, to cultural relations, to discussions on security,” the spokesperson, adding that the foreign secretary hopes to take forward this packed agenda during his visit.

The UK has said it is keen to support Egypt in overcoming the economic challenges it faces. Economic problems have accelerated over the past year and a half since the fall of Hosni Mubarak regime, one of the UK's main allies in the region.

“The UK is playing a key role through the EU and within the G8 to ensure that the international community keeps its big, bold offer to Egypt on the table as the transition unfolds,” the spokesperson explained.

The UK will chair the G8 in 2013 and the UK government has indicated that it will be working through the EU and G8 to provide priority support for Egypt to ensure short term economic instability does not derail the political transition.

The British government will be working through the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy and G8, including the Deauville Partnership and G8-Broader Middle East & North Africa initiative, to “help align the international offer of support for Egypt’s political and economic transition.”

In his congratulatory letter to Morsi on 24 June, British Prime Minister David Cameron, confirmed that the UK stands ready to support the Egyptian government in its economic reform programme and, more immediately, in taking steps to stabilise the economy.

The biggest EU investor in Egypt is the UK.  In 2010 the UK accounted for 70 percent of foreign direct investment inflows from the EU.

“We are also encouraging British companies to remain committed to the Egyptian market, which helps create jobs and stimulate growth,” the FCO said.

The UK considers its investment in Egypt strategic. The figures of the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) show that companies such as British Petroleum (BP) and British Gas (BG) are responsible for over 40% of Egypt’s oil and gas production. Egypt is also one of UKTI’s top 20 emerging markets.

Apart from this, the UK government is also funding projects in areas such as teacher-training and skills for employability, funded through the Arab Partnership. A FCO initiative, the Arab Partnership, has a stated goal to restore growth and tackle the problems which leave millions of young people across the Arab Spring countries out of work.

The UK has called on the Egypt's new president to honour his promise to respect all existing international agreements and obligations including the peace treaty with Israel.

The FCO spokesman also pointed to Morsi's pledge to “respect human rights and tackle discrimination, including against minorities.” 


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