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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

May and Sisi pledge to strengthen UK-Egypt ties

Britain’s prime minister spoke to Egypt’s president on Wednesday to congratulate him on his re-election

Supporters of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi celebrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square following his re-election for a second term. AFP
Supporters of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi celebrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square following his re-election for a second term. AFP

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi have pledged to deepen ties between the two countries as Mr El Sisi embarks on his second term in power.

During a phone call between the two leaders on Wednesday afternoon, Mrs May congratulated Mr El Sisi on his re-election over the weekend and said she looked forward to working closely with him.

“She congratulated President Sisi on the chance to take Egypt further along the path of democratic transition and said that his public commitment to respecting Egyptian presidential term-limits sent an important and powerful signal about his vision for the country’s future,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Egypt’s voters handed Mr El Sisi an overwhelming victory in the election, but with a lower turnout than the president had called for in seeking endorsement for a second term.

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The former army field marshal and military intelligence chief garnered 97 per cent of the vote, on a 41 per cent turnout, according to results announced on Monday afternoon.

Voters who cast their ballots for Mr El Sisi spoke of their support for his efforts to improve security, launching of large and long-delayed infrastructure projects, and taking brave steps to re-direct a lagging economy.

But Mr El Sisi's failure to improve on the 47.5 per cent turnout of the 2014 election could be attributed to apathy among Egyptians under 30 – the country's biggest demographic – who often speak about lack of progress on education, health care and job creation.

Mrs May told Mr El Sisi that Britain wanted Egypt to succeed as a stable, prosperous and democratic country.

“The pair discussed how the two countries can continue to work together to further Egypt’s economic and education reforms and support its counter-terrorism efforts,” the spokesperson said.

“President Sisi noted the UK’s experience and expertise in these areas and the potential benefits to Egypt. They looked forward to developing the bilateral relationship in all fields.”

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