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Defence Secretary attends historic Suez Canal expansion

Michael Fallon has expressed the UK’s support for Egypt’s economy and our shared determination to fight terrorism as he witnessed the opening of the country’s new Suez Canal.

Mr Fallon visited Egypt today (Thursday) to discuss the UK’s partnership with Egypt, including tackling ISIL in Northern Sinai and Libya, and the provision of life-saving counter-explosive device training.

His visit included the opening ceremony of a new channel for the Suez Canal; an expansion of the historic waterway which will reduce the journey time between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean by eight hours, boosting a vital trade route for UK interests.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

Whether British tourists in Tunisia, Egyptian workers in Libya or Egyptian armed forces in North Sinai, both of our nations have experienced evil terrorism inspired or directed by ISIL.

We will stand together to ensure their ideology of hate is defeated and Egypt can build a better and more secure future with ambitious projects like the Suez Canal expansion at its heart.

The UK enjoys a strong security partnership with Egypt, which includes the delivery of life-saving counter-improvised explosive device and aviation security training to Egyptian security officials. Security officials are also working closely to co-ordinate efforts on the UN peace process in Libya.

During his visit Mr Fallon also discussed Britain’s support for security and for economic progress and democracy in Egypt, as a vital element of restoring stability in the region. As Egypt’s largest investor, Britain is helping to strengthen Egypt’s position against terrorism by supporting a more prosperous society. The new Suez Canal will double the canal’s capacity and will foster economic transformation in the area, with British businesses set to play a leading role in investment.