CAIRO: Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal told Youm7 Thursday that the crisis of the Code Pink activists stuck the Cairo Airport was “fabricated” and its “political dimensions are vague.”
Fifty-eight French and American activists arrived in Cairo Wednesday to participate in a delegation to Gaza Strip, but the closure of the Rafah land crossing due to security reasons prevented the activists from entering Egypt.
Only 15 of the 58 activists were banned entry to the country due to security reasons, but the remainder of the activists refused to enter and decided to stay with their colleagues out of solidarity.
Minister Kamal said “Egyptian officials refused to implement the activists’ demands to open the crossing and kept them safe at the customs office at the airport.”
Kamal noted that the activists refused to stay in the reception hall allocated for them by the airport authorities but that the authorities provided them food and drinks and delivered them their bags.
Regarding the foreign side’s efforts, Kamal said that the French consul tried to convince the French activists to commit to the country’s laws, leave the state, and look for another entrance to Gaza.
But the consul’s attempts were in vain, added Kamal.
As were the U.S. consulate’s , which also attempted to persuade the U.S. activists to leave the country. Some activists, however, did respond to its request and demanded to leave the Cairo Airport.
“The activists requested ticket refunds in return to leave the country, but the Egyptian government refused,” added Kamal.
Medea Benjamin, the U.S. Code Pink co-founder, arrived on Tuesday but was then deported, while Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire was deported on Wednesday.
The activists will leave on Friday to different foreign countries, including Turkey, France, and Germany. Kamal said that diplomatic relations between Egypt and France as nothing to do with the activists’ crisis.
Originally published in Youm7.