Egypt not a transit point for illegal migrants eyeing Europe, Sisi to Visegrad leaders

Ahram Online , Tuesday 12 Oct 2021

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Tuesday that he does not allow his country to be a transit point for illegal migrants seeking to reach Europe, stressing that Egypt hosts nearly 6 million refugees from Africa and other unstable countries.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
A still photo of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi delivering a speech during a press conference held on Tuesday after the conclusion of the Visegrad Group (V4) summit in Budapest, Hungary.

Though Egypt is hosting up to 6 million refugees from Africa and other unstable countries, it has never allowed them and will not, from an ethical and human standpoint, to immigrate illegally to Europe, El-Sisi told a press conference following the Visegrad Group (V4) summit in Budapest, Hungary.

The V4 summit, which gathered Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, in addition to Egypt, tackled a series of subjects, including Egypt's role in the Middle East, cooperation to combat terrorism, illegal immigration, and energy security.

The Egyptian president said Egypt will never allow those refugees to make onward journeys to the European countries "in order not to cause problems to Europe as well as for migrants not to throw them into the unknown" at sea.

El-Sisi stressed that Egypt has no camps for those refugees, but it, from a human rights-based approach, treats them as guests on its soil, allowing them at the same time to join its schools and universities as well as being covered in its coronavirus vaccination campaign.

"We need to reach a different approach to handle illegal immigration issue," he said, asserting that illegal immigration reflects, in general, a form of human rights, but from a perspective different and not just limited to opinion expression and political practice.

"Several rights are still missing in our region," he went on saying.

"But are the European countries ready to contribute to and participate in helping improving the [region's] countries' political, economic, and even cultural situations in order to reach a different approach on understanding human rights, which is a controversial topic between Egypt and our European friends.

He added that he himself does not oppose discussing or talking about the issue, but, he wondered, based on which approach.

In Egypt, El-Sisi said, the state targets to provide decent life for its population that exceed 100 million.

El-Sisi urged for more cooperation between the European countries and Egypt in the fields of education and industry localization to help create job opportunities for more than 65% of the Egyptian people.

He said what is needed is a deeper form of dialogue regarding this matter, and not demanding political leaders in the region countries to apply your standards.

The president said the state does not need comments on the human rights situation in Egypt as it completely respects its people and strives for their own prosperity.

"We need no one to tell us that [your] human rights standards involve violations. I am responsible for 100 million souls… this is not an easy matter…. particularly that 65 percent of Egypt's population is youth," he pointed out.

"You are dealing with a nation that completely respects itself and its people," he assured. 

Egypt persistently seeks progress and urbanization, El-Sisi stressed, noting that the country launched a campaign targeting raising the living standards of up to 60 million Egyptians in villages.

With a total cost of EGP 700 billion, Egypt initiated the three-stage Decent Life initiative, which comprises a flurry of countryside-focused national infrastructure projects. 

El-Sisi thanked the leaders of Visegrad group for their understanding of the situations Egypt, expressing his happiness to meet them - for the second time - and to discuss issues of common interest.

He also hailed the historically friendly relations binding Egypt with the Visegrad countries.

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