Combating terrorism and extremism has high priority in Egypt, said President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in a meeting with the United Kingdom’s senior adviser on national security.
Al-Sisi received Kim Darroch, the national security adviser of UK Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday afternoon, state-run television reported. “The threat of terrorism is not an internal challenge that only Egypt suffers from,” said Al-Sisi, adding that the “whole region” suffers from it.
He warned that failing to remedy the situations in trouble spots in the Middle East would lead to a continued spread of terrorism to include more countries.
Since July 2013, an insurgency by jihadi groups, which was at first concentrated in Sinai, gradually spread to other parts of the country. Security forces, whether military or police, and security buildings have become heavily targeted and at least a dozen policemen have been killed in drive-by shootings in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqeya alone.
Darroch expressed the UK’s understanding of the size and nature of the challenges that Egypt faces, whether economic or challenges in the “fight against terrorism”. He emphasised that there are increasing threats of terrorism, whether in the Middle East or on an international level.
Darroch had met then-interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy in May and “expressed his country’s support for the war waged by Egypt against terrorism.” The UK has announced that it will “review” the Muslim Brotherhood to understand “the philosophy, activities, impact and influence on UK national interests, at home and abroad, of the Muslim Brotherhood and of [UK] government policy towards the organisation”. Egypt declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation last December.
Darroch added that the UK is ready to provide Egyptian policemen with human rights training. Al-Sisi said there is a need to double the number of grants provided by the UK to Egyptian policemen who work in the field of human rights awareness.
Al-Sisi stated that cooperation in the field of combating terrorism cannot be “incomplete”. He added that there must be a “comprehensive strategic approach” and a deeper understanding of the nature of this phenomenon.
The two sides also addressed terrorism threats in Iraq, Syria and Libya.
Darroch congratulated Al-Sisi on the election victory and handed the president letter from Cameron. After Al-Sisi was announced president on 3 June, the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague congratulated the former army chief and said his country “looks forward to working with Al-Sisi’s government.”
However, he added, “we look to President-elect Sisi to take steps to implement the rights contained in Egypt’s constitution by opening up political space, especially with regard to freedom of expression and association.”
The meeting on Wednesday was attended by British Ambassador to Egypt James Watt and Middle East adviser at the UK Ministry of Defence Simon Mayall.