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Egypt Ambassador Accuses UK Prime Minister of Blocking Flight Resumption to Sharm El-Sheikh

Egypt Ambassador Accuses UK Prime Minister of Blocking Flight Resumption to Sharm El-Sheikh

Part of the Russian airplane that crashed in Egypt's North Sinai being inspected by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail. Credit: AP
Part of the Russian airplane that crashed in Egypt’s North Sinai being inspected by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail. Credit: AP

Egyptian ambassador to the UK Nasser Kamel blamed Prime Minister Theresa May for obstructing the resumption of flights to Sharm El-Sheikh.

Kamel told BBC Radio 4 program on Friday that Egypt has done its part in upgrading security measures not only in airports but also in resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh.

According to Kamel, Egypt invested millions of dollars in airport security, bringing independent international security experts to assess the situation.

“It’s mind-boggling. Whenever I speak to any officials about the prolonged suspension, they all seem for the resumption. It seems that the delay is stuck somewhere higher.”

When asked why he thinks flights have yet to be resumed, he said, “This is a question you should be asking the the prime minister.”

The UK remains the only country in the EU that still did not resume its flights to the Red Sea resort, following the crash of the Russian Metrojet flight 9268 in October 2015. The crash killed all 224 passengers and crew.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

While investigations are still ongoing to examine the reason for the crash, Kamel said regardless of the cause, Egypt and the UK had agreed to work jointly on a security action plan.

“If this plan was done within three or four months, the UK resumes its flights,” Kamel said.

Following the crash, Russia suspended all flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh over security concerns, with the United States, Britain and a number of other countries following suit. Most countries have yet to restore the flights but Russia has been inspecting security procedures at Egypt’s airports on a regular basis.

The downing of the plane has spelled disaster for Egypt’s already weakened tourism industry, which was once the cornerstone of the Egyptian economy and a major earner of foreign currency.

In March of this year – just four months after the downing of the plane – Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said that Egypt’s tourism revenues dropped by as much as USD 1.3 billion as a result of the crash.

Roughly four million Egyptians work in the tourism sector, which accounts for 12.6 percent of the country’s total employment and about 12 percent of the economy.

This content is from Aswat Masriya

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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