Egypt's foreign minister blunders with letter to Mexican people

Egypt's foreign minister blunders with letter to Mexican people
Social media users rounded on Egypt's foreign minister following his awkwardly-worded open letter to the Mexican people after the 'accidental' killing of eight of their nationals by Egyptian security forces.
3 min read
16 September, 2015
Many social media users feel Shoukry has not accepted full responsibility for the attack [Getty]
Egypt’s Foreign Minister has come under fire after publishing an open letter in major Mexican newspapers on Wednesday about the recent accidental killing of eight Mexican tourists.

Sameh Shoukry expressed his sympathies, but many social media users felt he did not accept full responsibility and criticised him for Egypt’s reluctance to hold anyone responsible for the incident.

Social media users also thought that Shoukry went on an unnecessary tangent, comparing Mexico’s drug war to Egypt’s war on terror.

     Egypt and Mexico face similar challenges. We are all together in the same boat, sailing in a stormy ocean
- Sameh Shoukry
“Throughout the past decades, and particularly the past few years, we have lost numerous innocent civilian lives to terrorist violence. This loss has encompassed hundreds if not thousands of law enforcement agents,” Shoukry’s statement read.

The foreign minister then assured the Mexican people the Egyptian army is the “most cautious and careful” at preserving people’s lives and that allegations that Egyptian law enforcement officials are careless are completely unfounded.

He added that Egypt and Mexico are “all together in the same boat, sailing in a stormy ocean”, as Mexico has had thousands of police and civilians killed by organised crime groups.

The online backlash came fast.

“This letter is a disgrace. The only Mexican who bothered to comment on it should probably show you that this type of reasoning will not work beyond local consumption in Egypt! And don't translate this to Spanish. Deliver justice if you can and that'll be enough!,” commented Egyptian Mostafa Khalil.

Khalil added that if the victims of the attack had been Egyptians then the government would not have shown the same amount of concern – three Egyptian drivers and tour guides also died in the helicopter attack.

“Yeah, what a good excuse to not take responsibilities,” tweeted Mexican Jorge Bernal Marquez.

“And the second delusional award of the day goes to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry,” said blogger and journalist Jonathan Moremi.

“And no, Minister Shoukry, Mexico [and] Egypt [are] not ‘in the same boat together’. Mexican tourists were killed by [the Egyptian] army. Not vice versa,” he added.

“Mexico does not need any investigation to realise that a multiple crime happened. Will the Egyptian government accept responsibility? PUNISHMENT, not only ‘sympathy and condolences’ is what Egypt [and] Mexico expect after this crimes,” said Mexican Edgar Montano on Facebook.

Mexican FM visits Egypt 

Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu arrived in Cairo early on Wednesday to get answers from the Egyptian government, which has said it is still investigating the incident.

Confusion and unanswered questions have dominated the Egyptian government's handling of the attack.

Massieu visited a Cairo hospital to meet survivors of the air strike, after Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto has expressed his country's "outrage" over the incident.