Spain to host ECOWAS summit next year

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Spain will host a summit of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Canary Islands.

Madrid – Spain will host a summit of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Canary Islands next year, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Monday.

He made the announcement at a press conference in the Canaries' capital of Las Palmas after a meeting with regional officials.

The summit will be held in the second half of 2010 at the headquarters in Las Palmas of Casa Africa (Africa House), launched in 2007 and aimed at boosting relations between Spain and Africa.

Zapatero also emphasized "the potential of Africa as one of the great opportunities and vectors for the future for the Canaries" and its "Atlantic platform."

The Spanish leader held talks with West African leaders in the Nigerian capital of Abuja last week, after which Spain pledged to provide EUR 262 million (USD 368 million) for ECOWAS projects.

For Spain, faced with thousands of illegal African migrants landing on its shores in recent years, tightening diplomatic ties with West African countries has become a priority.

Most of the thousands of migrants originating from West Africa set off in barely seaworthy vessels and head for the Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco.

AFP / Expatica

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