The draft conclusions of this one-day meeting organized by Italy show a clear commitment to fight against human trafficking, but also to improve cooperation between European and African countries in areas such as renewable energies.
It is in response to the call launched a few months ago by the President of the Republic Kaïs Saïed that this international conference on migration and development was held yesterday in Rome, with the participation of delegations representing more than twenty countries. The issues of migration and development, especially of the African continent, were discussed there.
The draft conclusions of this one-day meeting organized by Italy show a clear commitment to fight against human trafficking, but also to improve cooperation between European and African countries in areas such as renewable energies. This marks an attempt to expand the partnership signed between Tunisia and the European Union to other Mediterranean and African countries. These countries yesterday agreed on a range of measures to try to slow down unauthorized migration and address some of the pressures pushing people to try to reach Europe.
Speaking just after the Head of the Italian Government Giorgia Meloni and the head of Italian diplomacy Antonio Tajiani, the President of the Republic Kaïs Saïed recalled the positions of Tunisia which is fighting against all this regional policy marked by the explosion of irregular migration, judging it necessary to review the approach adopted so far to fight against this scourge and the networks of criminals and traffickers.
The President of the Republic has especially called for the creation of an international fund which will be intended in particular to promote the development of African countries to combat poverty, climate change and precarious contexts and which will be financed through the restitution of stolen funds and the conversion of debts into investments. “The migration of past centuries was from North to South and that was normal. Today, for several decades, we have been witnessing a migration from the South to the North: is this migration not the result of other migrations that took place during the era of colonialism?” asked the President of the Republic. And to add that it is not possible to find bilateral or individual solutions to this problem, calling instead for international dialogue and collective initiatives to deal with it. According to him, it is these migration movements dating back to the colonial era that are at the origin of the aggravation of contemporary clandestine migration.
“Today it is our duty to face this scourge, it is the duty of the United Nations to devise new solutions. In this sense, I call for a development fund for these countries which suffer from wars, famines and conflicts. Moreover, the cost of these wars, of these weapons could have fed the African peoples”, he said sorry.
For her part, after the words of welcome and her thanks addressed to the participating delegations, Giorgia Meloni announced that this conference is not an end in itself, but marks the beginning of the “Rome process” fighting against irregular migration and encouraging the development of African countries.
Meloni opened the conference by setting the priorities for this major meeting. “Fight against illegal immigration, management of legal immigration flows, support for refugees, and above all, the most important thing, otherwise all that we will do will be insufficient, broad cooperation to support the development of Africa, and particularly of the countries of origin” of the migrants, she detailed.
For the Italian Prime Minister, it is now more than important to encourage regular migration in response to irregular movements towards Europe, recalling that her country has already tripled the number of regular migrants.
Meloni joined the President of the Republic in his call for a fund or a financial institution for development in Africa. “But how are we going to use this fund and what are its mechanisms? I remind you that Italy has earmarked three billion euros for the fight against climate change in developing countries,” she said.
Cooperation with Tunisia rises to the rank of a “strategic partnership” for investment, human development, migration, trade and shared sovereignty, said, for her part, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. A partnership where “the mutual advantages and benefits are indeed clear and obvious”, she further specified during a speech delivered on Sunday at the opening of the
International Conference on Migration and Development held in the Italian capital, Rome. “In order to face the migration challenge in Europe, the European Union so badly needs to forge new strategic partnerships, such as the one initiated with Tunisia,” she added.
Series of interviews
On the sidelines of this international conference, the Head of State had several talks focusing mainly on the migration issue. To this end, following an interview with the Head of the Italian Government Meloni, Saïed stressed the need to put an end to the phenomenon of inhumane migration and to eliminate its root causes. The Head of State also stressed the obligation to face “criminal networks and the parties behind them”, warning against the proliferation of criminal gangs taking advantage of the misfortunes of migrants. During his interview with Giorgia Meloni, Saïed affirmed that Tunisia and Italy have cooperation ties in various sectors and friendly relations between the two countries.
The Head of State also had talks with the Prime Minister of the Libyan national unity government, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, as well as with Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.
Among the personalities who took part in this conference, the presidents of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed ben Zayed, of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the president of the European Council Charles Michel, the High Commissioner of the UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, and delegates from major international financial institutions. It should be noted that neither France nor Spain participated in this conference, two countries yet affected by this phenomenon.
Also represented by their heads of government were Malta, Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Jordan, Algeria, Niger, Lebanon, while others, such as Greece, Turkey, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, sent ministers. France and Spain have no representatives.
According to Rome, some 80,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean and arrived on the coasts of the peninsula since the beginning of the year, against 33,000 last year over the same period, mostly from the Tunisian coast.
Last week, the EU signed a “strategic” pact with Tunisia to stem the flow of migration to Europe, as well as to promote economic development and renewable energy.
This article is originally published on lapresse.tn