Lawyer demands Egypt’s dues from commonwealth era from British PM
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron - REUTERS/Jeff Overs

CAIRO: The United Kingdom must compensate Egypt for violating international treaties and planting landmines on Egyptian territory during World War II, says a complaint filed Thursday by Egyptian Lawyer Ahmed Abdel-Salam Al-Rity. The complaint was submitted against British Prime Minister David Cameron and a number of other British officials, accusing them of refusing to reinstate Egypt’s rights in the United Kingdom.

The complaint was also directed at the Foreign Minister and Speaker of the British House of Lords.

According to Youm7, Rity said in the complaint that the United Kingdom violated international treaties by refusing economic and financial dues to Egypt resulting from British actions on Egyptian soil during the colonial era. The complaint says the British government has refused to pay Egypt over 100 billion British pounds in compensation for landmines planted in the Alamein area of the Western Sahara to target German tanks, which ultimately led to the deaths of thousands of Egyptians.

The complaint adds that the British government challenged the establishment of industrial projects and prevented any measures to expand agricultural lands.

Rity called on the Egyptian government to take the necessary measures against British officials as the representative of the state and to address international organizations to restore Egypt’s legal rights.

According to the official website of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, Egypt is one of the countries most affected by unrecovered landmines. It added that the removal of these mines requires enormous amounts of money, stressing that the mines impede the establishment of a number of development projects, including the Qatara Depression Project.

Legal expert Mustafa Abdelrahman told The Cairo Post that the complaint will not achieve its objectives, stressing that the Foreign Ministry should instead exert diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.

He added that the Foreign Ministry should address the British government to remove the mines that impede the opportunities of development in the area, adding that they also should pay compensation for the damages that resulted from these mines over the years.

“If the British government insists on refusing to meet its commitments, we should turn to the international organizations to perform the role of mediator,” Abdelrahman told The Cairo Post. He said the two countries could turn to the international judiciaryif they fail to reach a compromise.

Regarding diplomatic efforts exerted by Egypt’s diplomatic institution, the foreign ministry said on its website, “The efforts of the Egyptian missions abroad resulted in providing symbolic assistances from the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. The missions also communicate with the Japanese side to discuss the possibility of assisting Egypt in mine-clearing.”

It added that Egypt has adjusted its position from the issue to focus on the developmental and humanitarian aspects, at the expense of the responsibility of the countries that laid the mines to clear them. It added that the change aimed to support these countries to fund these operations.

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