A one-day conference in Rome gathered Sunday (Jul. 23) representatives of some 20 nations, EU officials and international organisations.
Italy’s Premier Giorgia Meloni convened the summit to make her country a leader in resolving issues impacting Mediterranean nations such as energy as Europe looks to Africa and the Middle East to permanently replace Russian supplies, and illegal migration.
African representatives attending the event included Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed, Tunisia’s president Kaies Saied, Nigerien Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou and Egypt Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
Human rights groups see the meeting, which includes nations from both northern and sub-Saharan Africa as well as the Middle East, as creating a future roadmap, and worry it will amount to anti-migrant policies that put the onus on Africa to keep Africans out of Europe.
Meloni told the opening meeting that Western arrogance had likely stood in the way of solutions to the migrant issue. She proposed four main prongs for future cooperation: fighting criminal organizations trafficking migrants, better managing flows of migrants, supporting refugees and helping countries of origin.
“The West too often has given the impression of being more interested in giving lessons rather than lending a hand,’” Meloni said. “It is probably this diffidence that has made it difficult to make progress on solutions.”
She said if flows were better managed there would be more room for legal migration. In her closing press conference, Meloni emphasized that there were no legal means of entry for many people who might have a case for refugee status, because quotas are filled by those who arrive illegally.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
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