Egyptian members of parliament (MPs) said they sent blame messages to the US for portraying an unsafe image of Egypt, in a Monday meeting with Thomas Goldberger, the US embassy’s chargé d’affaires.
According to MP Tarek El-Khouly, the secretary-general of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, the MPs objected to the latest embassy’s travel warning against Egypt.
Moreover, they rejected the term “violent political opposition groups” used in the travel warning, insisting on the differentiation between terrorism and opposition. Also according to state-owned media Al-Ahram, MPs said that an American movie implied Egypt was an unsafe place.
On 19 July, the embassy posted a travel warning on its website reading, “the US Department of State warns US citizens to consider the risks of travel to Egypt due to threats from terrorist and violent political opposition groups. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on December 23, 2016.”
The travel warning remains there, as Egyptian MPs asserted that Goldberger would deliver their message to the US administration.
It states that “for security reasons, US Mission personnel are prohibited from travelling to the Western Desert and the Sinai Peninsula. Overland travel is not allowed anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula, but US Mission personnel are permitted to travel to and from Sharm El-Sheikh by air. Mission personnel are prohibited from visiting religious sites outside greater Cairo.”
MPs reportedly met with Goldberger upon his request after receiving their objection letter.
Egyptian officials have been concerned about tourism, which has significantly dropped over the past years due to many circumstances. Recently, a man stabbed female tourists on a beach in Hurghada, a top touristic destination.
The country witnessed three major attacks on churches, one in December 2016 and two on Palm Sunday attacks, where at least 74 people were killed in total, in addition to other attack on Copts claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
Among further IS-claimed terrorist attacks severely affecting the tourism industry was the Russian aeroplane crash in North Sinai, which killed over 200 people.