SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian foreign minister said Monday that Egypt is host to some five million immigrants and that his country managed to completely eliminate illegal immigration via its sea coasts.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made the remarks while addressing a panel discussion on "the Adverse Impacts of Irregular Migration on Youth around the World," held on the sidelines of the week-long World Youth Forum in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh.
"The efforts of the Egyptian border and coast guards resulted in complete elimination of illegal immigrations through the Egyptian coasts," said the foreign minister.
Shoukry cited statistics from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency stating that no illegal immigration boats came from Egyptian coasts since early September 2016.
"Migration is a universal phenomenon with several positive sides in terms of cultural enrichment and variety provided that it is done according to the regulating legal frameworks," he told the forum.
"Meanwhile, it is necessary to combat the negative aspects related to illegal immigration that represent growing dangers on the lives of youth due to its close link with the crimes of human trafficking committed by cross-border gangs whose use their revenues for financing terrorism," the Egyptian foreign minister added.
Egypt is a desired destination for illegal migrants who try to cross its territories to Libya on their way to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea, in hopes to flee difficult economic conditions back home.
In September 2016, a migrant boat carrying some 600 people seeking to migrate to Italy, mostly Egyptians, capsized near the coast of Egypt's northern Beheira province, leaving more than 200 dead.
"More than 4,500 people drowned in the Mediterranean while illegally travelling to Europe in 2016," Shoukry said.