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Ministers, officials gather in Sharm El-Sheikh for aviation-security conference

Al Ahram

Ministers and aviation experts from Africa and the Middle East gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh on Tuesday at the start of a three-day conference on aviation security. The Regional Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security in Africa and the Middle East runs from 22 to 24 August, with the participation of some 400 officials involved in aviation and security issues.

Attendees are seeking to adopt a declaration on fostering civil aviation security in Africa and the Middle East, as well as the implementation of international standards pertaining to the security of air transport in participating states. The event is being held under the slogan "Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP): The Roadmap to Foster Aviation Security in Africa and the Middle East".

Officials from various ministries of the interior and transportation, along with civil aviation authorities and aviation-security officials, will discuss methods of reducing risks and increasing security, particulalry in light of terrorism-related threats. The conference beings on Tuesday with a two-day Experts' Meeting, followed by a Ministerial Session on 24 August.

Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, the president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), arrived in Cairo on Sunday to lead the international organization's delegation. On 31 October 2015, a Russian passenger jet was brought down by an explosion over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people onboard. The terrorist organization Daesh claimed responsiblity for bringing down the plane, which had taken off from the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

After the incident, several nations halted passenger flights to Sharm El-Sheikh, with Egypt's tourism industry suffering massive losses. The governments of Egypt and Russia are still in talks over the return of Russian passenger flights to Egypt, with any resumption depending on Russia's confidence in aviation security arrangements.

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