AU, EU, UN chiefs agree on Libya migration task force

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A representative of African youth said at the summit that "Investing in youth employment will enable young Africans tempted to cross the Mediterranean at the risk of their lives not to do so".

Images broadcast by CNN earlier this month appeared to show migrants being auctioned off as slaves by Libyan traffickers, sparking outrage in Europe and anger in Africa.

In a speech to the 5 African Union-European Union Summit, King Mohammed VI called for a shift in the EU-Africa partnership toward a "new bicontinental pact" to develop a "constructive agenda" based on action to shape a better future.

European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) have made a decision to put in place a task force in Libya to check migrant abuse in the north African country.

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"We discussed short, medium and long-term solutions to put an end to this atrocious and intolerable situation", French President Emmanuel Macron told a press conference at the French Embassy in Abidjan on Wednesday evening.

In closing, the King expressed his hope for the outcomes from the Summit, noting, "I deeply believe that the Abidjan Summit will be a watershed moment in the African-European partnership, and that it will mark a qualitative leap towards greater stability, security and prosperity on both continents".

The work of the task force is to be coordinated with the "recognised" Libyan authorities with the main goal of dismantling trafficking and criminal networks.

To clamp down on the people traffickers in Libya, Macron called for African states to deploy police there, ruling out at least for the time being any French military involvement. The African Union was represented by the President of the African Union Alpha Condé and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. "It is important to preserve the sovereignty of Libya".

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Juncker then repeated European Union plans to shore up some €44 billion by 2020 from private investors for projects in Africa.

European Union sources earlier said United Nations humanitarian agencies like the IOM had arranged for some 13,000 migrants to return voluntarily to their home countries mainly in sub-Saharan Africa in the past year after a deal with Libya.

Allowing Africans to come to Europe on a temporary basis for three of four years of training or schooling was also discussed, according to European government officials. "Circular migration" could be key to easing illegal migration, experts have said.

"It is built on shared responsibility and mutual dependence", he said.

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Vulnerable migrants who might eventually qualify for asylum will be brought to Chad or Niger before being relocated to a third country either in Europe or another region.

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