Regional counter-terrorism coordination between the UK and Egypt will be a priority for discussion as the foreign ministers of both nations meet in London on Monday.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s two-day visit to London, which began on Sunday, comes two days after the deadly attacks in North Sinai. The latest attacks to occur in the area claimed the lives of at least 30 soldiers and injured dozens more.
In response to the attack, UK Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond pledged his country’s support for Egypt’s efforts to combat terrorism and said he would discuss the issue with Shoukry during his visit.
Egypt’s domestic fight against militancy is an issue that the UK, US and other Western powers support. The countries, however, differ in their views on the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt declared as a terror organisation following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a review of the group in April this year, with the Brotherhood’s legal team announcing last week the review has cleared the group of terrorist activity. The official findings of the report are yet to be publicly released.
As well as Egypt’s domestic fight against terrorism, Hammond and Shoukry are set to discuss the regional threat of terrorism. Both Egypt and the UK are members of the US-led coalition against extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), which now calls itself Islamic State.
Egypt has previously stressed it is a part of the coalition, but would not be involved militarily. Egyptian authorities say its resources are being used to combat the domestic threat, which it says could pose a threat to the region as a whole.
The UK, alongside other nations, is carrying out airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq, while the US is carrying out strikes in both Iraq and Syria. The issue is also on the agenda for Shoukry’s meetings in London.
Shoukry and Hammond are also set to discuss regional issues including the situation in Libya and developments in Palestine. Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza following 50 days of conflict over the summer. Hamas said on Sunday that Egypt decided to postpone talks between the Palestinian factions and Israel.
Shoukry will also meet with the UK’s envoy for Libya, Jonathan Powell, Minister of State for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and leaders of the British business.
Shoukry is then set to travel to Cyprus for a tripartite meeting that will include Greece, in preparation for another tripartite summit in Cairo between the leaders of the three Mediterranean countries.