UK Ambassador in Cairo John Casson - FILE PHOTO UK Ambassador in Cairo John Casson - FILE PHOTO

UK ambassador affirms support for Egypt in uprooting terrorism

Tue, Nov. 28, 2017
CAIRO - 28 November 2017: UK Ambassador in Cairo John Casson said Monday his country supports Egypt in its war against terrorism.

"In the immediate term, there needs to be a strong and effective security response against these cold blooded murderers and Britain to support that," Casson told the BBC Radio.

"Through the British army, we are supporting the Egyptian army in countering the road side bombs which we have experience of from Afghanistan, which are targeting Egyptians in North Sinai too, but that also has to be part of a longer term effort to tackle the root causes of this problem and that means tackling the extremist thinking, it means creating opportunities for Egypt's big young population which was 80 million strong at the time of the Arab spring and it could be 130 million by 2030," he added.

"And so Britain has got specific partnership with Egypt in each of those areas to support education, support jobs and to support security."

"No one has claimed the recent attack yet but it certainly bares the hallmarks of the pernicious Daesh ideology we have seen and Daesh attacks we have seen in both in North Sinai and in the region," the ambassador said.

"I think the thing that is particularly shocking to Egyptians is in sense that this is new. This is the kind of thing they didn't expect to see in Egypt. They thought it might happen to other countries but attacking Muslims at prayer in a mosque is something new for Egypt and something that has caused a lot of sadness and a lot of shock here in Egypt but I think it is worth saying as well that in Cairo and here in the Nile valley were 96% of Egypt’s population live although there is concern and there is deep sadness, there isn't any kind of sense of panic today. It remains the case that the population here in the Nile valley feels safer than they did four or five years ago. Egypt has a strong deep sense of national unity and national identity that kicks in at times like this and you see Egyptians sticking together more than ever before in the face of this kind of tragedy," he added.

"Trying to destroy established states and replace them with their own is the Deash ideology and it is worth setting this against the context of what has been happening in Syria and Iraq where Daesh have failed in that objective and they have been driven out to the hideouts. Even here in Egypt, they have failed despite lots of bloody attempts to entrench themselves in the Nile valley and the main population centres of Egypt and in the way they have in northern Sinai," Casson said.

"Part of the greatest thing about being a British ambassador here is meeting so many young Egyptians who are full of aspiration, full of talent and full of hope for the future and see no appeal whatsoever in this pernicious and evil Daesh approach. That gives me confidence and hope that in the long campaign in Egypt and everywhere else we will confine this pernicious thing to the dustbin of history where it belongs," he added.

"That is the challenge we face and not just the challenge that Egypt faces. It is the challenge that the whole world faces and that is why we need effective short-term, immediate terms security but also we need the basis to build a resilient society that gives people better opportunity, better things to live for," the ambassador said.

"There is definite sadness and shock. This is the biggest terrorist loss in Egypt since our history and there is concern but also there is a sense of resilience. People feel under pressure, they feel they are paying a heavy price fighting an enemy that we are all facing from Britain to Europe to around the world. But there is also resilience in Egypt and national unity that perhaps you don’t see in other parts of the region," he concluded.
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