Egypt’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Hisham Badr, has told European Union Members of Parliament (MEPs) that Egypt now hosts five million refugees and migrants from across the region.
Blaming the EU - Turkey deal for an increase in the number of refugees arriving in Egypt, Badr said that pressure has increased on Egypt to accommodate refugees and to prevent others from attempting to cross to Europe.
“You see what has happened as a result of the deal with Turkey. The closing of the Balkan route and the deal in north Africa, the pressure has increased on Egypt,” said Badr, according to the EU Observer. The EU - Turkey deal saw the EU provide billions of dollars in aid in return for Turkey stopping the flow of migration to Europe and accepting refugees.
Badr also told MEPs from the foreign affairs committee that it had prevented more than 5,000 people from crossing the Mediterranean in recent months, including 400 people just days ago.
“We will continue of course to do our jobs and bear our responsibility without trying, unlike certain other countries, to bargain with that for other reasons,” said Badr, adding that Egypt spends $US 300 million a year as a result of the refugee and migrant crisis.
Badr also revealed that there are currently 500,000 Syrians seeking refuge in Egypt.
“We are not getting enough support. I don’t want to mention any examples with a country bordering you, which has got $6 billion in help,” continued Badr in reference to Turkey.
Along with Syrians, Egypt hosts hundreds of thousands of Somalis, Eritreans, Sudanese, Libyans, and more.
You can't help feeling sympathy for Egypt which has to spend so much of its state budget on security to deal with its own Islamic militants, before having additionally to cope with millions of refugees from war-torn neighboring countries. Egypt should receive assistance from the EU as a thank you for stopping them from going there.