British Embassy in Cairo reopens to public

AP News
Posted: Dec 16, 2014 4:44 AM

CAIRO (AP) — The British Embassy in Cairo reopened on Tuesday and resumed full public services following more than a week of closure over security concerns, the embassy said in a statement posted on its website.

It said security matters concerning the embassy's building have been resolved in cooperation with the Egyptian government.

The government had stepped up security measures around the embassy after it was closed to the public on Dec. 7. The embassy did not give details on any threats it may have received.

A day after the British, the Canadian Embassy in Cairo also closed over unspecified security concerns. No one answered calls on Tuesday at the Canadian Embassy and its answering machine says it remains closed.

Earlier, senior Egyptian security officials said recent arrests of suspected militants revealed plans to target embassies and foreign nationals in the country.

The British statement also quoted Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as saying he was pleased for the resumption of the embassy's services and that he was "very grateful for the close co-operation from the Egyptian government, which has made this re-opening possible."

Hammond said both countries maintain essential commercial links, and cooperate closely in a number of areas and that thousands of British holiday-makers are heading off for the Egyptian sun every Christmas and New Year.

"Britain is fully open for business in Egypt," British Ambassador John Casson was quoted as saying in the statement.

Casson added that the embassy will be investing in Egyptian education through the new 20 million pound ($32 million) Newton-Mosharafa fund, "welcoming thousands of (British) tourists for the Christmas break, and preparing for a trade mission in January to create Egyptian jobs with British investment."