AU-EU summit: 'Leaders need to examine Libya slave trade root causes'

President Jacob Zuma stressed the need to act decisively and support the Libyan government in eradicating the scourge of modern-day slavery.

President Jacob Zuma sits among African and European leaders at the AU-EU Summit. Picture: GCIS.

ABIDJAN - President Jacob Zuma has told the African-European Union summit that leaders on the two continents need to act decisively in dealing with the human tragedy unfolding in Libya.

He was introducing a closed session on peace and security at the fifth instalment of the gathering on Thursday in Abidjan.

More than 80 countries are present at the two-day event.

President Zuma has echoed other leaders in saying the summit comes as “we are haunted by images of many of our continent's citizens plunged in the watery grave of the Mediterranean and the scenes of a slave trade continuing on this very continent.”

He's stressed the need to act decisively and support the Libyan government in eradicating the scourge of modern-day slavery.

The president has stressed that in addressing this human tragedy, leaders need to examine its root causes such as environmental degradation, insecurity and instability, climate change and the lack of economic opportunity.

Meanwhile, a joint AU-EU-UN task force has been set up to tackle the issue.