The human tragedy in Libya dominated the speeches delivered on Wednesday at the opening session of the 5th Africa-EU Summit, which continues until Thursday in the Ivorian capital of Abidjan.
The Summit took place with the participation of more than 80 countries and a number of African and European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, South African President Jacob Zuma, Nigerian President Mamadou Boukhari.
Presidents, who did not attend the Summit, included Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and Mauritanian President Mohamed Abdelaziz, who was represented by his country’s ambassador to Abidjan, in addition to Zimbabwe’s ousted President Robert Mugabe.
Held under the theme of “Investing in youth for a sustainable future”, the Summit aimed at promoting jobs and stability in the African continent.
The President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, said that his country’s hosting of the 5th Africa-EU Summit marked a new phase in the international arena after the great crisis that had almost engulfed his country. He called on Europe to open the door to Africans who wished to pursue their education in European territories.
The Ivorian president also hailed France’s commitment to support the G5 group in the Sahel region, saying: “The security of our countries remains dependent on our ability to find a solution to the Libyan crisis.”
“What is happening in Libya is unacceptable and requires collective responsibility to put an end to the crisis there,” he added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on African and European leaders to place youth issues within their priorities in order to maintain peace in the two continents, stressing the need for increased cooperation among African countries to be able to fight terrorism, with the strong support of the United Nations and the European Union.