UK restores 24 arms export licenses to Egypt

Joel Gulhane
2 Min Read

The United Kingdom announced on Sunday that it restored 24 export arms licenses that were revoked following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July. The UK is also providing assistance to improve Egypt’s airport security.

Despite 24 licences being reinstated, another seven were revoked, said a spokeswoman from the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills. She was unable to provide any further information regarding this issue.

The decision to restore the arms export licenses came after the UK government “re-assessed all extant export licenses” having kept track of “recent developments” inside Egypt. The restored licenses have been judged “to pose no risk of misuse in public order operations and will be used to support the Egyptian security forces in combating terrorism in Egypt.”

The UK also announced that it “has loaned several Explosive Trace Detection devices to the Egypt Airports Company for five airports in key Egyptian tourist destinations.” This decision was taken with the aim of increasing security for travellers.

In July UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable announced that the UK decided to revoke five licenses. Cable said, at the time: “We will not grant export licences where we judge there is a clear risk the goods might be used for internal repression, provoke or prolong conflict within a country, be used aggressively against another country or risk our national security.”

In August the European Union Foreign Affairs Council decided to revoke all export licenses for any equipment that could be “used for internal repression” in Egypt.

Spokesman for the British Embassy in Cairo said that a total of 48 licenses had been revoked, one of which was restored soon after it had been revoked. The spokesman added that the decision does not conflict with the EU decision as each member country can act depending on its “interpretation of the guidelines” set out by the Foreign Affairs Council.

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Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane
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