Russian experts to inspect airport security measures in Egypt

Sunday 17-04-2016 11:33 AM

Archive photo of Cairo International Airport. REUTERS

CAIRO, Apr 17 (Aswat Masriya) - A delegation of Russian experts will arrive in Egypt Sunday to inspect airports' security measures, five months after Moscow suspended flights with Egypt following a Russian plane crash over Sinai, the Civil Aviation Ministry spokesman said. 

Members of the delegation will meet with Egyptian civil aviation officials at the Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada airports, state-run news agency MENA reported. 

The visit will last untill Apr. 23. It comes "in the framework of cooperation between the Egyptian and Russian sides in the field of airport security," the Egyptian ministry spokesman said.

A charter flight operated by Russian airline Metrojet broke up midair 23 minutes after takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh Airport as it headed to St. Petersburg on October 31, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board.

Russia and Western countries have long said that they believe the flight was brought down by a bomb smuggled on board. But Egypt maintained that the investigation has yet to find evidence supporting this claim.

The first official indication from Cairo that criminal activity was suspected came when Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hinted in a speech in February that the plane was downed by terrorists seeking to damage its tourism industry and ties with Moscow.

The ISIS-affiliate, Sinai Province, had claimed responsibility for the crash. 

On Thursday, Egypt’s public prosecutor referred the investigation into the crash to the State Security prosecution, a branch of the prosecution typically involved in cases that affect national security.

This came after the Egypt-led committee investigating the crash referred the case to Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadiq in mid-March after receiving a report from Russia suggesting suspected criminal activity.

Today’s visit is not the first by Russian experts. A Russian Aviation Authority delegation visited Egypt in January to inspect security measures at Cairo International Airport.

Following the crash, in November, the U.K. also halted all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh and Russia suspended all flights to Egypt before banning EgyptAir flights from entering Moscow.

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