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Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Conservative, Aberconwy

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to protect Christians in Egypt from persecution; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The British Government continue to emphasise to the Egyptian Government the importance of protecting religious freedom and minorities, establishing the conditions for pluralist and non-sectarian politics, and enshrining the freedom of religion for all faiths in the new constitution and in law.

In response to sectarian violence in Egypt, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), issued a statement on 10 October. He also called the Egyptian Foreign Minister to raise our concerns and discuss the action that the Egyptian Government was taking to address sectarian tension, and maintain law and order while respecting minority rights. The Deputy Prime Minister also raised the issue with the Egyptian Prime Minister during his visit to Egypt on 20 October. The British embassy in Cairo maintains an open communication channel with representatives of the Coptic Church and arranged for the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee to meet a representative of the Church during the Committee's visit to Egypt in February.

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