On February 24th and 25th, in Sharm el-Sheikh, European and Arab League leaders took part in the first League of Arab States-European Union summit, presided by Donald Tusk, president of the European council and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egyptian president. At the summit, several high-level EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian and British prime ministers, Giuseppe Conte and Theresa May, were present. Migration was one of the main topics that was discussed, with the EU interested in giving the Arab League a bigger role in curbing migration. The two blocs have agreed to hold the summit every three years in rotation, with the next gathering due in Brussels in 2022.
In this week’s News Highlights: Sudan student rallies ramp up as more arrests take place; UN Security Council discusses Eritrea – Djibouti relations; UNHCR reports on plans for refugees in Ethiopia; the UN reports high levels of violence in South Sudan; More refugees flown from Libya to Niger; France provides equipment to Libyan Coast Guard; the consequences of economic crisis in Libya; testimony on organ trafficking in Egypt; LIBE Committee votes to increase border management funding; EU’s migration policy aids human trafficking, states article; Sea Watch 3 vessel still blocked in Sicily; documentary on Mediterranean Sea boats is nominated for Oscar; and the Council of Europe reports on refugees camps conditions in Greece.
Twenty days after entering the port of Catania in Italy, the Sea Watch 3 rescue ship remains in one of the Sicily’s ports, as the inspection of the Dutch authorities requested further maintenance of the ship in order to ensure “the ship’s conformity to regulations in force”. The ship has been kept in the port by the Italian Coast Guard since the first inspection on 31 January 2019. Kim Heaton-Heather, who is responsible for the search-and-rescue operations of the Sea Watch 3, says that by blocking the vessel, the Dutch authorities fuel the anti-migrant sentiment that has been spreading among EU’s political powers, which intensifies the anxiety of refugees aiming to reach a safe country.