British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that neither he, nor his experts can “be sure that it was a terrorist bomb that brought down that Russian plane” and the decision to suspend flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh was made on a presumption that it was the “more likely than not outcome.”
The comments came during a joint news conference with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt following al-Sisi’s visit to Downing Street on Thursday.
The prime minister was asked by a journalist why UK intelligence is “so sure that there was an explosive device on board this plane, when even the Russians – whose plane this was – have not said that? Do we have some intelligence they do not have, or do you think the Russians are withholding some information?”
David Cameron backed out of answering the question directly, explaining that his role “is to act in the right way to keep British citizens safe and secure, and to put their security first.”
He said that his decision was based on intelligence reports and advice that he had received.
“Of course I cannot be sure, my experts cannot be sure that it was a terrorist bomb that brought down that Russian plane. But if the intelligence and the judgement are that that is a more likely than not outcome, then I think it’s right to act in the way that I did.”
“My job is to act on the basis of the intelligence, making the judgment that if it is the case – we can’t be sure, but if it is the case that it’s more likely than not a terrorist bomb on that plane, then my job is to take the right action,” he furthermore reiterated.
Neither did the British prime minister name any concrete reason for suspending flights from the UK to Egypt in a phone call with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
President Putin stressed that it was vital to rely solely on information provided by the official investigation.
Earlier in the day, the Kremlin’s spokesman said that Russia hopes the United Kingdom will provide data to back recent statements that the Russian airliner crash in Egypt was likely caused by a terrorist attack.
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