Egypt revises security at airports

2015-11-19 22:22
Members of the Egyptian military approach the Metrojet Airbus A321’s wrecked tail. The passenger jet was flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it crashed in northern Sinai last weekend 
Picture: Maxim Grigoriev / Russian Minist

Members of the Egyptian military approach the Metrojet Airbus A321’s wrecked tail. The passenger jet was flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it crashed in northern Sinai last weekend Picture: Maxim Grigoriev / Russian Minist

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Cairo — Egypt's president said on Thursday that his country has taken several steps to boost security at ports of entry following the October 31 crash of a Russian airliner and vowed to not stop until all security loopholes are closed.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the signing of an Egyptian-Russian accord aimed at eventually building a nuclear power plant on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said Egypt appreciated Moscow's concerns over the safety of its citizens.

Egypt, he said, is cooperating with technical committees from Russia and elsewhere to investigate the crash, which killed all 224 people on board.

"We are dealing with the issue with a profound sense of responsibility and transparency," he said. "We have taken a great many measures to revise security procedures at air and sea ports and I want to say that we will not stop until ... there is no loophole that could be a source of doubt or concern."

El-Sissi's comments, carried live on state television, were the first since Russia this week declared that the crash was caused by an explosive device, backing a claim by the Egyptian affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group that it downed the Metrojet plane.

El-Sissi made no mention of the cause of the crash.

The Russian plane, an Airbus 321-200, crashed some 23 minutes after it took off from the southern Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. Most of the passengers were Russian citizens.

Russia later suspended all flights to Egypt, whose sunny beaches are popular with Russian tourists, and stopped Egypt's national carrier, EgyptAir, from flying to Moscow.

El-Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have forged closer ties since el-Sisi's 2013 ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. El-Sisi was elected president last year.

El-Sisi said the memorandum of understanding on the nuclear project was the first step toward realizing "a very old dream that Egypt would have a peaceful nuclear program." He stressed that Egypt remains committed to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The deal envisions the development of a four-reactor power plant whose costs would be covered through electricity sales over a 35-year period. Further financial details were not disclosed.

Read more on:    abdel-fattah el-sisi  |  russia  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  air travel

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