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African, French Leaders Call for Cooperation to Fight Illegal Immigration

French President Jacques Chirac is urging Africa and Europe to work together to dismantle illegal immigration networks that allow Africans living in poverty to flee to Europe.

President Chirac said at the opening of the Africa-France summit Saturday in Mali's capital, Bamako, that African and European leaders have a duty to fight the illegal traffic.

Mali's president, Amadou Toumani Toure, agreed that leaders in both Africa and Europe must do a better job to address the mass flight of Africans from their homes.

Mr. Chirac also pledged that France would help bring Africa out of poverty and said his country is raising its official development aid to .7 percent of its gross domestic product by 2012.

Dozens of African heads of state are attending the two-day conference alongside Mr. Chirac. The summit is held every two years, alternately in France and Africa.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.