EU and Arab leaders will meet in Egypt in late February for their first summit as part of efforts to forge a new European-African alliance and fight migrant smuggling, AFP reported Thursday (October 18th).
European Union leaders first mentioned the summit in Austria last month as they vowed to intensify talks with Egypt and other north African countries to curb illegal migration.
"The European Council welcomes the holding of the forthcoming first summit between the 28 EU Member States and the League of Arab States, hosted by Egypt on February 24th and 25th, 2019," the council of EU leaders said after a summit in Brussels.
The Cairo-based Arab League includes North African countries Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco as well as those in the Middle East and Gulf.
The EU has previously struck co-operation deals with both Turkey and Libya, whose coast guard officers are trained by the Europeans to stop migrant sea crossings.
The deals with the two gateway countries have helped to cut migration to Europe sharply since a 2015 peak, but the bloc wants to expand work with all north African countries.