Officials from a number of African countries gathered on Tuesday in Egypt’s Hurghada for a two-day meeting to discuss adopting a unified vision on migration, human trafficking and asylum seeking.
The meeting was called for by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in light of the increased global attention to these issues, and to consolidate the African position before a February summit with the European Union in Malta, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported.
Egyptian assistant foreign minister Hesham Badr told reporters on Monday that “these efforts reflect Egypt's keenness to benefit from the plan resulting from the [previous] Valita summit,” which was an African-European summit on migration held in Valita, Malta in November.
Badr highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of the migration crisis as well as ensuring legal channels of immigration so as to end human trafficking and smuggling.
He added that any future cooperation between Africa and the European Union must be done in the context of shared efforts in a way that guarantee the interests of both sides.
“Today’s meeting will result in clear recommendations about the future of cooperation between the two continents regarding migration,” Badr said.
A migrant boat sank in September in the Mediterranean near Egypt’s Rachid, with 165 people killed and 52 missing.
In recent years, thousands of refugees and migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean in search of better opportunities and living conditions, including from Egypt and other African countries including Sudan, South Sudan, Eretria, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
The Egyptian Mediterranean coastline has been one of the main departure points for migrant boats.
Egyptian security forces have thwarted many irregular migration attempts in recent years.