Macron to host African, European leaders for migration talks


French President Emmanuel Macron is due to hold talks on Monday with African and European leaders aimed at further diminishing migrant movements to Europe through Libya.

Macron is receiving President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and President Idriss Beby Itno of Chad, two countries that border conflict-wracked Libya to the south.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the head of Libya’s weak UN-backed unity government, Fayez Serraj, will join the talks later.

Niger and Libya have both played a part in European efforts to reduce the numbers of people crossing the Mediterranean towards Italy.

Italy has backed the Libyan coastguard to stop people-smugglers, despite criticisms from rights groups.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Save the Children suspended Mediterranean rescue efforts earlier this month claiming they risked attack from the coastguard.

With rival Libyan governments unable to control the southern border, the EU has also sought to support efforts by Niger and other neighbours to police the borders on their side.

Earlier this month, Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said he was “starting to see light at the end of the tunnel” after the number of sea arrivals dropped compared to 2016.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), migrant arrivals in Europe for the first half of 2017 were down 58 per cent year-on-year, mostly due to drastically lower arrivals in Greece.

The four European leaders will also discuss EU issues separately after their meeting with the Nigerien and Chadian presidents.

Source: China Post



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