More than 111,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (AFP)
CAIRO – 27 June 2018: Ehab Fawzi, Egyptian foreign minister’s assistant for multilateral affairs and international security, met with the head of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) in Cairo to discuss issues of immigration and refugees.
The meeting came as part of the Egyptian dialogue with the European Union, which started in 2017, around the immigration issue.
Fawzi met with a delegation from FRONTEX headed by Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri during his visit to Cairo.
Leggeri affirmed Egypt’s unchangeable stance toward dealing with the issues of immigration and refugees from a comprehensive perspective that balances security and development, according to a formal statement on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Leggeri praised Egypt’s regional role, affirming that the European Union considers Egypt as one of the main partners in the region, especially regarding hindering illegal immigration. He also hailed the efforts of the Egyptian military’s border guards to stop illegal immigration across Egyptian borders with Europe.
Leggeri expressed his keenness to strengthen cooperation with Egypt to benefit from the country's experience in dealing with illegal immigration.
The foreign minister’s assistant called on the international community, during the meeting, to cooperate with Egypt to halt illegal immigration, as this will help achieve security and stability in the whole Mediterranean region. He also called for backing the Egyptian efforts to host the growing numbers of immigrants and refugees.
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 Sameh 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.
President Abdel Fatah al- Sisi received Saturday Dimitris Avramopoulos ,European Union Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs, December, 2017- Press photo 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 able to blend in the society.
Avramopoulos said that Egypt is a strategic partner to the EU on several levels.
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 tackles 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.
Egypt’s efforts in combating illegal immigration
Earlier in June, The Egyptian Ministry of Interior thwarted an illegal migration attempt of 41 young people, and arrested three people accused of facilitating their migration.
This came within the framework of the ministry's efforts to tighten security status and combat various forms of crime, especially illegal immigration.
The Criminal Investigation Department in Fayoum found that three residents of Atsa city collected a group of young people to illegally immigrate through the dangerous border routes, with the help of some people in Marsa Matruh governorate in return for LE 12,000 for each migrant.
The migrants and the facilitators were arrested in a police ambush on the Fayoum road, and they confessed the crime. The police took the legal measures and the prosecution will further investigate the case.
The Egyptian Parliament approved in October the Illegal Immigration and Smuggling Law, which entails tough penalties on whoever assists and/or facilitates an illegal immigration process. The law was drafted by the Cabinet in 2015 and was sent in June 2016 to the Parliament for discussion.
Parts of the reporting were taken from Middle East News Agency (MENA)