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The response of the British government to United Copts GB petition

The UK Government share your concern about religious freedoms in Egypt. With at least 8 million Coptic Christians in Egypt, creating tolerance between Coptic and Muslim communities is essential. While the Egyptian Government has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote tolerance and interfaith harmony, sectarian tensions and discrimination do still occur at a grass roots level.  We continue to urge the Government of Egypt to ensure effective implementation of their initiatives at all levels.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for North Africa, Dr Kim Howells raised the issue of religious freedom directly with the Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament during his visit to the UK on 21 January 2008, and we have regular discussions with the Egyptian Government through our Embassy in Cairo.  We welcome the  steps the Egyptian Government have taken to engage with us on these issues and welcome the willingness they have demonstrated to hold further dialogue.

Promoting the protection of human rights in all aspects, including freedom of religion, and democracy are central components of the European Union’s on-going dialogue with Egypt. We will continue to discuss these issues at future EU-Egypt political sub-committees.

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