martedì 4 ottobre 2011


DIRECTORATE North Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Iran Iraq

Dear Ms Toelgyes, Mr Zerai,
President Barroso has asked me to reply to your e-mail regarding the situation of refugees in the Northern Sinai.
The EU has been following the case of the group of refugees of various backgrounds held hostage on the Egypt-Israeli border since the beginning of December 2010, when the civil society organizations brought this case to the attention of HR/VP Catherine Ashton. The recent developments in Egypt may prove to be a way forward toward a renewed cooperation in areas where progress has been difficult in the past. The EU keeps encouraging the Egyptian authorities to ensure respect for human rights including the protection of migrants and refugees.
The EU Delegation in Cairo contacted local civil society organisations and liaised with UNHCR Regional Representation in Cairo to establish the facts. In coordination with the Member States, the EU Delegation repeatedly met with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express our concerns and urge appropriate follow-up. The issue was also discussed at the EU-Egypt Association Committee held on 14 December 2010 in Cairo. Since then it has been regularly put on the agenda of meetings with local human rights organisations and has been repeatedly raised with the Egyptian authorities, with views being exchanged with the offices of the UNHCR and IOM. Unfortunately, progress in this matter has been limited so far, but the EU continues to exert pressure upon the Egyptian authorities.
Yours sincerely,

Ilkka Uusitalo

Service Européen pour l'Action Extérieure, B-1046 Bruxelles / Europese dienst voor extern optreden, 

B-1046 Brussel - Belgium. Telephone: (32-2) 584 11 11.

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