The EU delegation led by German MP Elmar Brok, chairman of the European Parliament committee on foreign affairs, and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met Sunday in Cairo to discuss regional and international security measures, border control, and Egypt’s role in assisting in the migrant crisis brought on by regional turmoil .
Al-Sisi noted Egypt’s effort to fight terrorism and to maintain stability in the Middle East and southern Europe, especially after the influx of Syrian refugees to Europe, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a press conference after the meeting, Brok added that the EU parliament delegation discussed the situation in Libya and the impact of the increasing number of refugees.
In the face of the necessity to impose security measures and tighter boarder controls, Al-Sisi pledged his continued commitment to political and economic development, pointing to the importance of achieving a balance between security and human rights.
Al-Sisi further emphasised how vital international collaboration is concerning the fight against terrorism and efforts to intercept the funding of these groups, adding that this cannot be achieved by only military measures, but also by social and economic development.
Al-Sisi pointed to the recent assembly of the Egyptian parliament as a development that will facilitate parliamentary cooperation between Egypt and the EU to address issues of security and economic development.
Furthermore, Brok told Aswat Masriya that the death of the Italian student Giulio Regeni would not affect how the EU views the security situation in Egypt.
The meeting came amid the publication of an autopsy report indicating that Italian national and Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni, who was found dead outside Cairo last week, was subject to violent torture. The investigation has not yet concluded the party responsible for Regeni’s death.
In January, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a comprehensive report concerning a number of issues in Egypt including armed groups and counter-terrorism; abuses committed by security forces; judicial accountability; arrests; mass death sentences; freedom of association, expression, assembly, and religion; women’s rights; LGTB rights; and refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.
“Al-Sisi issued a sweeping counter-terrorism law that expanded the authorities’ powers. Law enforcement forces, especially the Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency, committed torture and enforced disappearances, and deaths in custody continued. Mass trials mostly targeting Brotherhood members failed to establish individual guilt,” the report read.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid however told Daily News Egypt that government would not comment on the HRW report as it is issued by a “biased and non-objective” organisation.