President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi speaks during the High-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants in the Trusteeship Council Chamber during the 71st session of the United Nations in New York September 19, 2016. (Photo: AFP)
Egypt is currently working on finalising legalisation to combat illegal emigration from the country, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said during his speech at a high level UN plenary meeting in New York addressing the immigration and refugee crises.
"Let's all agree that combating illegal immigration should be at the top of our international priorities," El-Sisi told world leaders. "Let's also agree that there is no way to stop the flow of illegal immigration except through addressing its main roots and opening up doors for legal migration."
El-Sisi explained that Egypt will combat illegal immigration through updating already existing anti-human trafficking legislation.
Egypt already outlaws all forms of human trafficking with its 2010 anti-trafficking law (Law No. 64), which stipulates punishments from three to 15 years imprisonment along with monetary fines.
The president highlighted the Egyptian government's commitment to spreading awareness on the dangers of illegal immigration, and discussed efforts undertaken by Egyptian security forces to secure maritime and land borders as well as foil illegal immigration attempts.
Egypt's army has repeatedly announced over the past years the thwarting of illegal immigration attempts from the Mediterranean coast to Europe.
The Egyptian president also said that Egypt currently hosts five million refugees of different nationalities "in accordance with our principled commitments on the issue since the outbreak of the refugee crisis."
According to the UNHCR website's profile on Egypt, the country is hosting 261,741 registered refugees, mostly from Sudan, Syria and Libya, with the number of unregistered refugees believed to be much higher.
"We are working on providing [refugees] with respectable living conditions without isolating them in camps," El-Sisi said.
"Many of the refugees in Egypt enjoy equal rights with Egyptian citizens in education, health and housing services. They are also benefiting from the subsidy system despite the huge burden on Egypt's general budget."
Addressing the UN's secretary-general, El-Sisi said that Egypt appreciates the push for international momentum to discuss the crisis, and welcomes ongoing efforts to issue two international UN convents on refugees and immigration.
"I stress Egypt's commitment to supporting efforts in dealing with the migration issue," El-Sisi said.
"I ask you all to promote cooperation to support development efforts and reach a solution to the political conflicts in the region so that people are not emigrating from their countries in search for security or the right to live."