Combating sectarian violence in Egypt is a shared strategic objective for the Egyptian and UK Governments. Following the attack against El-Botrosiya Church on 11 December 2016, the Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) wrote to the President of Egypt to express her deep condolences and reiterate the UK's support for Egypt in its fight against terrorism. The UK Government continues to work closely with the Egyptian authorities on security and counter-terrorism, including through training Egyptian officers in countering improvised explosive devices and close protection.
The UK Government has been clear that freedom of religious belief needs to be protected and that the ability to worship in peace is a vital component of a democratic society. We are concerned about recent reports of sectarian violence in Egypt, and welcome President Sisi's consistent calls for peaceful coexistence and the government of Egypt's expression of support for the rights of Christians and for religious tolerance.