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Abidjan Summit Begins amid Questions about African-European Partnership

Abidjan Summit Begins amid Questions about African-European Partnership

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017 - 08:30
Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice-president of the European Commission, receives Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission. (Photo: EU)

The ministerial meeting of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit was held on Tuesday and focused on joining forces to face common challenges at the security, economic and social levels.

The 5th AU-EU Summit will kick-off on Wednesday in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, under the theme, “Investing in youth for a sustainable future”, amid fears that the partnership envisaged between the African Union and the European Union remains hostage to situational circumstances.

African and European heads of state and government representing 80 countries will gather to discuss current challenges, in the presence of the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the President of the African Union and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an African foreign minister told Asharq ِAl-Awsat: “Partnership between the two sides cannot depend on the situation.”

He pointed out that the African-European partnership suffered from quantitative issues, in the sense that partnership cannot be made with 80 countries, wondering whether there were agreements within African countries or within European countries to achieve the envisioned objectives.

Contrary to the prevailing belief that terrorism issues would take the lead in the Abidjan summit, African diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that terrorism would not be extensively discussed on the table.

According to the same sources, the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) was dominant in the African Union agenda, and had no interest in the matter, since terrorism has not affected their countries, but only threatened West Africa, the Sahel and North Africa.

In a speech at the opening session, Ivorian Foreign Minister Marcel Amon Tanoh said that Africa and Europe were asked to raise common challenges of a security, economic and social nature, noting that the youth, the main theme of the summit, should contribute to addressing these challenges.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini underlined the need for the two unions to meet on a regular basis to ensure the implementation of the decisions taken during the summits.

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