FILE- Illegal migration - Reuters
CAIRO – 21 October 2018: Egypt is expected to host the first European-African summit in late Feb, 2019, to tackle mechanisms to counter migrant smuggling, foreign media reported Thursday.
The 28 EU Members States and the League of Arab States will meet on 24-25 Feb, 2019 in Egypt, stated the council of EU leaders after concluding a two-day summit in Brussels.
In last September, European leaders first mentioned the summit in Austria as they vowed to intensify talks with Egypt and other North African countries to curb illegal migration.
EU officials affirmed that the forthcoming summit is "about more than just migration, but part of a broader push to build closer ties with Africa", previously manifested European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
On Sept 20, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman declared that Egypt will host the EU-Arab summit to review several Arab-European cooperation issues, not just immigration issues.
Ahmed Abu Zeid, former Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, said the venue of the summit has been set in advance in line with Resolutions no 147 and 148 of the Arab League Council and Resolution 691 of the 2017 Arab summit which was held in Jordan's Dead Sea.
During his historic speech before world leaders at the 73th UNGA in New York, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi tackled the problem of illegal migration. "The disintegration of nations as a result of civil strife or regression to sectarian loyalties is responsible for the most dangerous phenomena in our contemporary world, including armed conflicts, human trafficking, irregular migration, organized crime and illicit trade in arms and drug trafficking," Sisi said.
In October, 2017, the Egyptian Parliament approved the illegal-immigration and smuggling law that entails tough penalties on whoever assists and/or facilitates a process of illegal immigration. The law was drafted by the Cabinet in 2015 and was sent in June 2016 to the Parliament for discussion.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced that over 3,200 migrants died while trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2016.