The meeting today between Michael Fallon and the Egyptian President allowed the leaders to discuss shared security concerns and thoughts on defeating terrorism and countering extremism in the region, particularly in light of the Sinai aircrash. As the UK takes steps necessary to ensure the safety of British citizens, a small team of military personnel has been sent to Egypt to work with cross-Government colleagues to make an assessment of the security arrangements in place at Sharm el-Sheikh airport.
Following the delivery of counter-explosive device training to Egyptian officers in the UK earlier this year, Mr Fallon offered further support to Egypt’s training capabilities, including having discussions around electronic counter measure and detection equipment.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Our partnership with regional allies is vital as we work together to defeat the evil terrorism inspired and direct by terrorist organisations such as ISIL. The UK is committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with Egypt as we fight for a more secure future for the Middle East.
As part of this continued cooperation, Britain plans to form a small military operations team in Egypt to better understand Libyan, and regional, security issues. Countering extremism remains a top priority for the UK Government and this small joint team will share ideas on countering ISIL in Libya and to understand how Britain will, in time, support the future Government of National Accord. It will guarantee that there is a common understanding of the security situation in Libya and ensure that any future UK and Egyptian operational activity is complementary.
In the past months, the UK and Egypt have built on their existing military relationship by holding regular senior discussions on tackling the terrorist threat emanating from Libya. In September, Mr Fallon met General Mahmoud Hegazy, Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces and, in October, UK experts visited Egypt for a discussion on improving counter-terrorism and border security cooperation.