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Britain’s May pledges to help boost Egypt’s economy

Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged that the UK would work towards propping up Egypt’s ailing economy and increase British investment in the country, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported.

The remarks by May, who assumed the office of PM last month, were made in a telephone call with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who called to congratulate her on taking office.

According to Egypt’s State Information Service, Britain is the biggest foreign, non-Arab investor in Egypt, with $26 billion worth of investment, and an additional $12 billion planned to be pumped into investment.

During the call, the two leaders discussed plans to bolster mutual ties between Egypt and Britain as well as the latest regional developments and solutions to crises in troubled countries, MENA added.

They also discussed the ban the British government has imposed on direct flights to Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and measures being taken by Cairo to resume the air trips.

The UK was among several foreign governments that halted flights to the popular beach resort over security concerns following the October 2015 crash of a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai Peninsula, which killed all 224 people on board.

The British government has since deployed expert teams to assess security practices at Egyptian airports, but flights to South Sinai have yet to be resumed.

“Both sides have agreed to continue to work together to resume flights to Sharm El-Sheikh,” MENA said.

Russia, which has also suspended civil flights, has maintained that that a bomb destroyed the Russian airliner, while President El-Sisi suggested in February that the plane was downed due to “terrorism.”

Egypt’s economy has been hard hit since the 2011 popular uprising, which has scared off investors and tourists, two critical sources of hard currency.

The country’s tourism industry has suffered further losses following the 2015 plane crash.

source: Ahram Online

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