Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during his participation in the WYF session on illegal immigration on November 6, 2017- Press Photo Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during his participation in the WYF session on illegal immigration on November 6, 2017- Press Photo

Shoukry: “No illegal migrants fled Egypt since Sept 2016”

Mon, Nov. 6, 2017
CAIRO – 6 November 2017: The international illegal immigration crisis was tackled by panel speakers in the first session of the World Youth Forum (WYF) that kicked off on Monday.

The deteriorating situation in the sending or origin countries of migrants, in combination with restricted opportunities for legal labor migration, have resulted in a growing number of people who resort to illegal human smuggling, or who fall prey to illegal human traffickers.

The session titled “Negative impact of irregular migration on youth across the world” took place on Monday in Sharm El-Sheikh and was attended by Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, Lebanese State Minister for Presidential Affairs Pierre Raffoul, the UNHCR Deputy Representative Ms. Bernadette Castel-Hollingsworth, and other key concerned figures.

“Egypt proposes a comprehensive vision on dangers of illegal migration and opens safe migration routes,” Shoukry said during the session.

Shoukry cited statistics from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, stating that no illegal immigration boats came from Egyptian coasts since early September 2016.

“Migration is a universal phenomenon with several positive sides in terms of cultural enrichment and variety provided that it is done according to regulating legal frameworks," he said.

“Meanwhile, it is necessary to combat the negative aspects related to illegal immigration that represent growing dangers on the lives of youth due to its close links with the crimes of human trafficking committed by cross-border gangs who use their revenues for financing terrorism," Shoukry added.

Shoukry pointed out that illegal migration’s negative impacts should be considered seriously as this phenomenon has been accompanied by illegal human trafficking and terrorism funding, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement on Monday.

“Shoukry stressed that Egypt has adopted an unchangeable policy that aims to protect Egyptian nationals from falling prey to human traffickers,” Abu Zeid added.

Shoukry asserted in his statement during the African - European Summit on Migration, which took place in November 2015, the importance of encouraging legal migration as a solution to combat illegal migration, Abu Zeid added.

Shoukry also stressed the need to strengthen ties between migration and development, the ties of immigrants with their counties, facilitating granting visas and movement.

He pointed out the necessity of finding common solutions of illegal migration and human trafficking, urging European countries to assume their responsibilities towards immigrants.

Egypt called for the implantation of related international agreements, noting that any European approaches contrary this would strengthen violence and hatred against immigrants in Europe, Shoukry stressed during the WYF session.

Egypt-Italy endeavors to eradicate illegal immigration

The Police Research Center of the Egyptian Police Academy launched in last September a training program for 360 senior police members from 22 African nationalities on combating illegal immigration and organized crime, in accordance with a cooperation protocol between Egypt and Italy.

The program coincided with the revival of Egyptian-Italian diplomatic ties as the Italian ambassador to Egypt, Giampaolo Cantini, took office in September, replacing Maurizio Massari, who was recalled in Spring 2016 in relation to the case of Giulio Regeni, an Italian postgraduate student who was murdered in Egypt last year.

Egyptian, Italian and European security trainers should oversee holding a number of workshops aiming to exchange experiences and unify methods of combating criminal phenomena in the Mediterranean.

According to media sources, Italy chose Egypt to take over the responsibility of training African security agencies to combat organized crime and illegal immigration due to its confidence in the Egyptian police force. They pointed out that Egypt has one of the largest police academies in the world, as well as a successful research center that has greatly contributed to improving the security system in many African countries.

Italy is heavily counting on Egypt to carry out this important task to protect the continent from the dangers of organized crime and illegal immigration, especially after the Egyptian Ministry of Interior established a specialized sector to fight organized crime and illegal immigration.

The Italian side and the European Union (EU) announced they will finance these workshops in line with their efforts to combating crime and preventing illegal immigration of young Africans to Europe.

The crisis of illegal immigrants — which has increased recently because of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East — became an explicit threat to European countries. Italy has always been the door illegal immigrants have used to enter Europe.

Egypt-Germany cooperation agreement on migration

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel signed on August 27 a cooperation agreement between both countries on migration during Shoukry’s visit to Berlin.

In late 2016, Cairo introduced a law stiffening penalties against human traffickers.
The move came after a migrant boat capsized in September 2016 off the Mediterranean coast, killing hundreds.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has spoken on multiple occasions about Egypt's ongoing efforts to curb irregular migration from its shores to Europe, a key concern for European countries facing a growing migrant crisis.
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