FILE - Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry holds a meeting with Johannes Hahn of the European Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations on Wednesday in Brussels mainly on Cairo’s efforts to combat illegal migration FILE - Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry holds a meeting with Johannes Hahn of the European Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations on Wednesday in Brussels mainly on Cairo’s efforts to combat illegal migration

Shoukry, EU's Hahn discuss efforts to combat illegal immigration

Thu, Jul. 12, 2018
CAIRO - 12 July 2018: On the sidelines of a mini-summit held in the Belgian capital of Brussels, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with Johannes Hahn of the European Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations on Wednesday, where they discussed Cairo’s efforts to combat illegal immigration.

Egypt described its efforts as a "successful model" in dealing with the phenomenon of illegal immigration.

In an official statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Shoukry highlighted Egyptian efforts, including stopping boats in Egyptian territorial waters that might carry migrants to Europe, and asked other European partners to support Egypt in its efforts.

Following a September 2016 migrant boat disaster off its Mediterranean coast, Cairo raised its focus on the illegal immigration issue and introduced an illegal immigration law, in addition to toughening sentences against human traffickers.

A huge number of Egyptians escaped harsh living conditions and sought to improve their living standards by illegally migrating from Egypt, often travelling first to Libya and then to Europe across the Mediterranean.

Human-trafficking gangs operate in Libya and charge migrants large sums of money to make the perilous journey.

In December 2017, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Union commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs, in the presence of Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry and Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram.

During the meeting, Sisi underscored the significance of dealing with the growing threat of illegal immigration through a comprehensive strategy that can address its root causes.
Sisi also stressed such a threat can be fought through settling regional disputes, pushing for development and raising the standard of living for people affected by crises, emphasizing the key role that the European commission plays in this regard.

Moreover, Sisi stressed that Egypt is no place for displacement camps for refugees; instead, they are treated as nationals and are allowed to blend in the society.

Egypt and the EU have a common interest in securing the stability of the region and managing migration in a better way, Avramopoulos noted, adding that a major step forward in cooperation between both parties was taken.

The dialogue tackled all the issues related to the migration, including prevention of human smuggling and trafficking, strengthening legal channels for migration and movement, preventing illegal immigration and the protection of refugees and asylum seekers.

The dialogue is consistent with the EU-Egypt partnership priorities from 2017 to 2020, which were issued in July 2017.
 
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