28 November 2017

Libya: AU/EU Summit - Libya's Modern Slavery, Western Sahara Tensions Under Scrutiny in Abidjan

Photo: HCR / Iason Foounten
Migrants at a Tripoli camp (file photo).
analysis

The theme is, as usual, worthy. But the real interest is also, as usual, the drama on the margins. That's how summits work, at least in Africa. By PETER FABRICIUS.

The theme of the three-yearly African Union-European Union summit which starts in Abidjan on Wednesday is "Investing in youth for a sustainable future". A lot of good work will be done to increase youth employment, for example.

Much of the curiosity though is on what the expected 83 leaders representing 55 African and 28 European countries will do about slavery. And will Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was only sworn into office last Friday - after a de facto coup - attend? Also, will there be a rumpus between the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" (SADR) and Morocco? SADR is one of the 55 official member states of the AU, though its territory, the Western Sahara, is claimed and occupied by Morocco. Morocco stormed out of the AU's predecessor, the OAU, in 1984, because the SADR was admitted as a member.

Rabat returned to the AU fold this year but it has been creating scenes at previous AU meetings over the SADR's presence. There was talk a few weeks ago...

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