ADDIS ABABA - Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte urged the African Union to ''help in bilateral agreements for repatriations'', during a visit to Addis Ababa.
Speaking beside Ethiopian leader Aby Amhed, who succeeded in the ''historic'' role of starting, after a 20-year-long war, a peace process with neighboring Eritrea, from which the majority of migrants reaching Italy depart, said Conte.
It is no coincidence that Conte decided to be the first western leader to visit after the historic accord.
Italy has several economic interests in the Horn of Africa and gives ''maximum support to the region's development'' although the migration dossier remains central. ''The African Union - he explained - can help us very much in stipulating bilateral agreements for repatriations because, if the AU is fully involved in our strategy on immigration, we can have the possibility of significantly boosting our initiatives at a European level''.
A key meeting for the premier was with African Union leaders, who said they will attend a conference in Palermo on Libya on November 12-13. The event is central for Italy and does not aim to solve the Libya crisis in two days, explained Conte. The objective is for all stakeholders and Libyan representatives to gather at the same table and to trace a road map for the definition of a peace process. Conte is working on the Libya conference, he said. ''I spoke with Merkel, who assured me that she will do everything she can to be there'', the premier added, explaining that he is sure work ''will proceed very well''.