Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1263, (17 - 30 September 2015)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1263, (17 - 30 September 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Shoukri’s open letter to the people of Mexico

Al-Ahram Weekly

In “An Open Letter from Egypt to the People of Mexico”, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri addressed the people of Mexico regarding the accidental killing of Mexican tourists on a safari trip in Egypt last Sunday.

Shoukri started the letter by expressing his condolences and sympathy to the Mexican people, for the death of “innocent lives”.

He said that the sudden loss of a family member is “unimaginable”; however, Egypt can understand the deep grief the Mexicans are feeling as Egyptians have seen numerous innocent civilian lives lost due to terrorist violence in the last few years.

The foreign minister emphasised in his letter that Egyptian security forces who risk their lives to protect citizens are the most cautious and careful when it comes to preserving the lives of others.

He added that Egypt is still in the process of investigating what happened, asserting that the authorities are “unequivocally committed” to revealing the precise details of that “tragedy”.

“The chain of events is still confusing and unclear,” the letter reads. “There have been various conflicting reports, regarding whether the tourist convoy had the necessary permits, whether it had taken a detour to a restricted area, and whether the use of SUVs instead of a tourist bus had increased the risk of mistaken identification.”

In the letter, Shoukri explained that a security operation was taking place against militants in the area at the time the tourist group was passing by. He said that it was not clear whether there was an error involved or whether the group was “simply in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

Shoukri  said he was troubled by the people whom he claims were using this “tragic event” to allege that Egyptian security forces have no strict rules of engagement and do not take the necessary measures in the operations they carry; pointing out that the claim made that more lives were lost at the hands of security forces than at the hands of terrorists “has nothing to do with the truth”.

In his letter, the foreign minister linked Egypt’s prosperity to the tourism sector, which he said once employed 12 per cent of the country’s workforce and made up more than 10 per cent of its GDP.

Shoukri said that both Egypt and Mexico are facing similar challenges, comparing the “large scale violence” that Egypt is facing to that of Mexico’s “drug wars” and “organised crime groups” that has left thousands including members of security forces dead.

He expressed his hope that the similar challenges facing both states would boost the joint appreciation, support and friendship that has always linked the two governments and peoples. “That is what we need now more than any time before,” the letter read.

Shoukri concluded by repeating his condolences and that of the government and the people to the families of the victims in that sad accident.

The letter was set to be published in major Mexican newspapers.

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