On 18 and 19 November a senior British Government delegation of aviation and counter-terrorism experts visited Cairo on instructions from Prime Minister Cameron, for discussions with the Egyptian authorities on a Joint Plan to allow British flights to return to Sharm El-Sheikh as soon as possible.
The delegation was headed by the Prime Minister’s Envoy on Aviation Security, Sir William Patey. The delegations’ meetings included discussion with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou, Dr Fayza Aboul Nagga National Security Adviser to the President, General Ahmed Gamal el-Din Adviser on Security and Counter-Terrorism Affairs, Dr El Zenaty, Head of the Civil Aviation Authority, and other security agencies.
The British delegation conveyed a political message from Prime Minister David Cameron that the United Kingdom would work actively, urgently and in detail with the Egyptian authorities, to allow normal flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh as soon as possible. They welcomed the close and professional cooperation with the Egyptian authorities over the last two weeks to ensure the safety of passengers departing from Sharm el-Sheikh.
The delegation stressed that Britain will never falter in its commitment to work with the Egyptian Government to defeat shared enemies and threats to our citizens in Europe, North Africa and beyond. They emphasised the strategic importance to British interests of a strong and secure Egyptian economy and the need to stop terrorist attempts to undermine it.
Commenting on the discussions with Egyptian counterparts, British Ambassador John Casson said:
“Britain was the first to act on airport security issues at Sharm El Sheikh, and we want to be the first to find the solutions to restore normal flights as soon as possible. That’s why Britain’s most senior aviation security experts are here in Cairo this week. Our talks have shown very encouraging progress, with shared analysis, shared commitment to swift progress, and shared ideas on the way forward. We now have a strong basis to agree a shared action plan in the days ahead, and to return British flights as soon as possible.
“A strong Egyptian economy with a strong tourist industry, at the strategic heart of this vital region, is a national interest for Britain. Recent events have shown that every country must take every possible step to protect their citizens. Britain will do that. But we must not allow anything to drive Britain and Egypt apart, or undermine our long-term economic and security partnership.”