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UK Politics

Britain blocks export of aircraft parts and communication equipment to Egypt

More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence sparked by the deaths of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters of Morsi

Britain has suspended 49 export licences to Egypt amid fears the goods could be used for internal repression.

The defence equipment includes helicopter and aircraft spare parts and specialised software and communication technology, and relates to licences to Egypt's army, air force and domestic security services.

It comes after the UK last month took steps to limit British arms exports to Egypt as it withdrew five licences consisting of components for armoured fighting infantry vehicles, communication equipment for tanks and machine gun parts.

“As a result of the developing situation in Egypt, we have agreed with EU partners in this instance to go further and suspend all export licences for goods which might be used for internal repression,” Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a statement.

“By acting together, we want to send a clear signal that we condemn all violence in Egypt.”

Egypt has seen its worst violence for decades since President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by a military coup in early July. Around 1000 protesters have died and the authorities have received worldwide condemnation for their bloody crackdown on his supporters.

Mr Cable said the situation in Egypt would have to improve for the suspension to be lifted.