Sawiris tourism firm 'violating national security'

Ahram Online, Wednesday 13 Apr 2011

Sinai-based Taba Heights gets warning for illegal sailing route between Egypt and Jordan


Egypt's Ministry of Transport has issued a stern warning to Taba Heights,  accusing the tourism company owned by Egyptian tycoon Samih Sawiris of violating national security.

According to the ministry, the company was illegally operating tourist and commercial boats from the 'Marina Yacht' port of Taba, South Sinai. Taba sits on Egypt's border with Israel.

General Tawfiq Abu-Guendeiya, advisor to the transport ministry told the state-run MENA news agency that Egypt's ministries of defence and interior have given clear instructions that Taba's ports were not to be used for tourism due to reasons of national security.

“The protocol signed between Egypt and Jordan in 2003 to create a tourist link between Taba and Aqaba in Jordan was suspended because of those instructions," says Abu-Guendeiya.

Abu-Guenedia says the issue with Taba Heights was raised when a Jordanian-Iraqi company involved with maritime transport asked for a licence to organise regular voyages between the two ports "like Taba Heights are doing".

The answer given by officials was that Taba Heights' activity was illegal and any further activity would be blocked.

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