Egypt protests latest: Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel

FCO advising against travel to all regions except resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and those resorts on the Egyptian mainland in the Red Sea governorate
  • @johnmatthewhall

British holidaymakers are being urged not to visit large parts of Egypt, as a wave of deadly political unrest continues to grip the country.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is recommending against all but essential travel to the north African country, following widespread clashes between supporters and opponents of president Mohammed Morsi which have left at east 23 people dead and more than 200 injured.

As a result of the widespread protests, the FCO is advising against travel to all regions except resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and those resorts on the Egyptian mainland in the Red Sea governorate.

Red Sea resorts in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab have no travel restriction warnings.

The FCO also deems safe the St Catherine's Monastery World Heritage Site, road travel between and from Red Sea resorts to the monastery approaching from the east, and transfers between the resorts and airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh.

An FCO spokesman said: "Although we are not recommending immediate departure at the moment, British nationals already in Egypt in areas where we advise against all but essential travel should consider whether they have a pressing need to remain.

"While in Egypt they should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (eg their hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to their personal safety, particularly in the larger cities. They should take particular care to avoid crowds. The situation is changeable and they should continue to watch our travel advice closely."

There are no warnings against the use of Cairo airport as a transit stop, providing travellers do not leave the airport grounds, the FCO said.

Mr Morsi, who a year ago was inaugurated as Egypt's first freely-elected president, last night rejected an ultimatum by the army that the country's leadership crisis be resolved by today, pledging to protect his "constitutional legitimacy" with his life.

His vow not to resign came hours before a deadline to yield to the demands of millions of protesters or see the military install a new leadership.

In the Commons, David Cameron assured MPs that action was being taken to safeguard UK nationals in Egypt and the British Embassy in Cairo.

“These are deeply disturbing scenes, the level of violence is appalling,” said the Prime Minister. “We should appeal to all sides to calm and stop the levels of violence, and particularly sexual assaults.”

Mr Cameron added: “It is not for this country to support any single group or party. What we should support is proper democratic processes and proper government by consent.

“Very clear messages have been sent to president Morsi - including by president Obama who spoke to him directly, and we have also been communicating through our ambassadors - that, yes, he has a democratic mandate and we respect that, but democracy also means ensuring that everyone has a voice and that leaders have a responsibility to represent all Egyptians and show they are responsive to their concerns.

“That's what the government needs to do in order to bring about peace and stability in that country.”