Cairo agrees with the countries of the Visegrad group on the importance of combating terrorism and addressing the refugee crisis, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a speech at the European Visegrad summit in Hungary’s Budapest.
The Visegrad Group – which constitutes Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic – was formed in 1991 with the aim of having member countries work together in a “number of fields of common interest within the all-European integration,” according to the group’s website.
El-Sisi said in his speech that a meeting held with the leaders of the Visegrad group’s four countries witnessed discussions on working to combat extremism and stop countries and individuals that support terrorist groups.
The president said that the leaders also talked about bolstering cooperation to put an end to the “humanitarian tragedy” that is the refugee crisis, stressing the importance of putting an end to the conflicts that create this crisis through political solutions.
Egypt is currently home to some five million refugees, including 500,000 Syrians who have fled the country’s civil conflict.
The Egyptian president has repeatedly raised the issue of irregular migration during his international visits. Egypt recently introduced a law that raises penalties against human trafficking amid a spike in the number of migrants leaving Egypt for Europe.
The meeting between El-Sisi and the European leaders also saw an exchange of viewpoints on the latest developments in the Middle East, especially the conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq and the ongoing efforts for peaceful settlements.
“We agreed that the international community needs to exert more effort to end such conflicts, and discussed pushing forward the [Israeli-Palestinian] peace process for a permanent and fair resolution based on international accords that would help accomplish a two state solution,” El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi hailed the member-countries of the Visegrad group, saying that Egypt has “historical friendships [with the four countries] that should lead to close cooperation in a large number of fields”.
The president said that the group plays an important role in the EU, stressing the value of the partnership between Egypt and the Visegrad countries in strengthening stability and security in the southern Mediterranean.
The leaders of the Visegard countries expressed in a statement their appreciation for the cooperation between their countries and Egypt, whether politically, culturally or socially.
The Visegard leaders also praised the progress Egypt has achieved politically in recent years, expressing their willingness to offer their expertise in political and social transition and establishing a democratic system.
The leaders also praised Egypt’s economic reform programme, describing it as the "complete economic development that would best guarantee the stability of the society."
The Visegard countries also expressed their support of the Egyptian government in its war against terrorism.
This is the second visit by the Egyptian president to Hungary since 2015.
Egypt aims to benefit from the large industrial base of the four Visegrad Group countries, as well as attract new investments and tourists from Central Europe.