Cairo — Representative for the British Department of Transport, Lord Tariq Ahmad, met with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail along with various other Egyptian ministers to discuss airport security and ways to counter extremism, the British government said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement added that Ahmad has dual responsibility for aviation security, and "for countering extremism in the Home Office." In his meeting with the Egyptian PM, and the minister of interior, minister of civil aviation, and the ministers of endowments and transports, Lord Ahmad discussed "ways to cooperate on countering extremism."
"We are working side-by-side with Egypt on improving aviation security and we appreciate all the efforts made so far," the member of the UK House of Lords said.
"I know that the tourist industry is of great importance to the Egyptian economy and I also know that British tourists love holidays in Sharm el-Sheikh and want to return," he added.
Egypt is cooperating with Control Risks, an independent global risk consultancy, in securing the country's airports, starting with the Cairo and Sharm El- Shiekh airports, tourism minister Hisham Zazou announced last December.
Authorities hired the company in the wake of a Russian plane crash that killed 224 mostly Russian passengers who were heading to St. Petersburg from Sharm El-Shiekh on Oct. 31.
According to its official website, the company specialises "in helping organisations manage political, integrity and security risks in complex and hostile environments." In addition, the company operates in 36 offices across the world.
"I have also had important conversations with Egyptian Ministers on countering extremism," Ahmad said.
Shortly after the Sharm El-Shiekh crash, British Airways cancelled all flights to and from Sharm El-Sheikh until Jan. 14, while the budget airliner EasyJet cancelled flights to and from the Egyptian resort until Jan. 6.
International parties, including the Russian Kremlin, suspected that the Russian plane was downed by an act of terrorism with a homemade bomb planted on the jet. Egypt had initially denied the claim.
"I told Prime Minister Ismail today that the whole of the British government and I are very grateful for Egyptian efforts to improve security in Sharm el-Sheikh airport and that I appreciate the continuing cooperation on this matter," Lord Ahmed also said.