Egypt: President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi criticizes EU on refugees


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday criticised European governments’ handling of the migration issue.

El-Sissi said Egypt was hosting 6 million people who escaped conflict and poverty in their own countries.

“We didn’t reject them or put them in camps. I am talking about huge numbers, not 5,000 or 10,000. Our friends in Europe refuse to receive them,” he said.

El-Sissi made the remarks during a session at the World Youth Forum which is taking place at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration says Egypt hosts more than 6 million migrants, more than half of them from Sudan and South Sudan, where simmering conflicts continue to displace tens of thousands of people annually.

For some, Egypt is a destination and a haven, the closest and easiest country for them to enter.

For others, it is a point of transit before attempting the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.

But numbers of migrants setting out from Egypt are few if compared to how many travel from Libya.

Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe. Oil-rich Libya plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Egypt has for decades been a refuge for sub-Saharan African migrants trying to escape war or poverty.