Ahead of the European Union – African Union Summit and after she met last week in Brussels with African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, the High Representative spoke today with William Lacey Swing, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), to discuss the African Union's involvement in the already ongoing EU-IOM cooperation, which started one year ago, to save lives, protect migrants stranded in Libya, and accelerate the already ongoing assisted voluntary returns of migrants to their countries of origin.
Federica Mogherini had discussed already in previous days with the President of the African Union Condé and AUC Chairman Faki on the need to guarantee swift cooperation on the side of countries of origin, and to reach out jointly to Libyan authorities to encourage them to facilitate the IOM and the UNHCR with access to the detention centres in Libya, in order to enhance their level of assistance, safe lives and in particular organise voluntary returns.
The High Representative underlined the crucial work done by the IOM on the ground throughout 2017 thanks to EU support, which helped assist more than 12,000 men, women and children to voluntarily return to their countries of origin and provide support to migrants in Libya.
The High Representative expressed readiness to support actions to further accelerate it. She also committed to bring the need for further UN-EU-AU cooperation forward during the Summit.