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French-African Summit Opens In Mali

African leaders and French President Jacques Chirac have opened a two-day summit focusing on problems faced by African youth and on the continent's political troubles.

Heads of state and government officials from at least 35 African countries attended the opening of the summit Saturday in Mali's capital, Bamako.

Participants were expected to address the high unemployment rates among Africans under age 30.

The conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region and the faltering peace process in Ivory Coast were also likely to top the agenda. France has 4,000 soldiers in Ivory Coast, alongside a 7,000-member United Nations peacekeeping force.

Observers say a number of other issues sensitive to Africans are likely to be discussed on the sidelines of the summit. Among them are French plans to tighten immigration legislation.

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