The Latest: Europe leaders OK new asylum policy for Africans

France's President Emmanuel Macron, center left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center right, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, right, and Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno, left, attend a joint press conference after their meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain are meeting with African counterparts to find ways to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean to European shores. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Rescuers transfer African migrants to a rescue boat during a rescue operation from the Aquarius vessel of SOS Mediterranee NGO and MSF (Doctors Without Borders) in the sea some 25 Nautical miles (29 miles, 46 kilometers) north of the Libyan coast, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Rescuers from NGO Open Arms conduct a rescue operation in the waters some 25 Nautical miles (29 miles, 46 kilometers) north of the Libyan coast, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. Some 120 migrants were rescued during the operation. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
Migrants are registered by activists after being rescued during a rescue operation, on the Aquarius vessel of SOS Mediterranee NGO and MSF (Doctors Without Borders) in the international waters some 25 Nautical miles (29 miles, 46 kilometers) north of the Libyan coast, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
From the left, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Chad President Idriss Deby, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the leader of Libya's internationally-backed government Fayez Serraj attend a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Aug.28, 2017. The leaders are meeting to discuss ways to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea to European shores. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Chad President Idriss Deby, left, French President Emmanuel Macron, second left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy attend a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Aug.28, 2017. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain are meeting Monday with counterparts from Libya, Niger and Chad to discuss ways to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea to European shores. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, center, and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni attend a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Aug.28, 2017. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain are meeting Monday with counterparts from Libya, Niger and Chad to discuss ways to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea to European shores. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS — The Latest on migration into Europe (all times local):

8:25 p.m.

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain have agreed on a new policy to grant asylum to vulnerable migrants who apply for protection while in Africa instead of their destination countries.

In a joint statement released after a meeting in Paris, the four leaders acknowledged a need for initiating in Chad and Niger the process of resettling in Europe "particularly vulnerable migrants."

They announced they plan to carry out "protection missions" in the African nations in cooperation with the United Nations' refugee and migration agencies.

The process would allow migrants to immigrant legally to Europe if they are on an eligibility list provided by the UN refugee agency and registered with authorities in Niger and Chad.

In parallel, the European leaders agreed to help Chad and Niger with border control to stem illegal migration.

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7:55 p.m.

African leaders whose countries are major transit routes for migrants trying to reach Europe are asking for Europe's help in giving human smugglers legal ways of making money.

At a migration summit Monday in Paris, the prime minister of Libya's U.N.-backed government, Fayez Serraj, asked for more support to fight migrant trafficking and in monitoring his chaotic country's southern border.

Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno and Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou stressed that poverty is driving people to emigrate to Europe and into trafficking.

Issoufou says it's important "to find alternatives for the smugglers to leave criminal activity," such as commerce or farming.

The summit participants also discussed boosting European Union efforts in Africa to stem migration and combat smuggling.

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7:30 p.m.

The leaders of France and Germany are calling for tougher, clearer measures against illegal migration from Africa to Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a migration summit in Paris on Monday that Europe has a "humanitarian responsibility" to both fight illegal migration and smugglers who profit from migrants' desperation.

European and African leaders at the summit discussed the resettlement of qualified asylum-seekers from Africa to Europe, but Merkel said European countries must clearly define who is in humanitarian need and who is fleeing poverty.

She called it "very, very important" that the possibility of resettlement is coupled "with an end to illegal migration."

French President Emmanuel Macron called for more "effective action" against illegal migration and fortifying European efforts to help African countries improve their economies and stop migrant smuggling.

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6:30 p.m.

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain have started meeting in Paris with African counterparts to find ways to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean to European shores.

The leader of Libya's internationally-backed government, Fayez Serraj, is taking part, along with the EU foreign policy chief and presidents of Niger and Chad.

According to French diplomatic officials, the goal of the meeting is to produce a common "roadmap" that would define priority actions on migration routes. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not allowed to speak ahead of the meeting.

One issue to be addressed is helping Libya and other countries of Africa's Sahel region to fight human smuggling. Another is developing a resettlement policy for migrants who appear to fulfill criteria for obtaining asylum in Europe.

— By Sylvie Corbet.

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2:45 p.m.

European Union funding is being looked at as a potential tool for ending the dependence of some local economies in Africa on migrant trafficking.

Italy's interior ministry hosted a meeting of interior ministers from Libya, Chad, Niger and Mali on Monday to discuss strategies for foiling the human traffickers who have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants toward Europe.

The migrants are often put on unseaworthy vessels and are brought to Italy when they are rescued at sea. But unlike refugees, economic migrants aren't eligible for asylum.

The ministers said in a statement that the United Nations refugee and migrant agencies need to help Niger and Chad set up migrant reception centers since those countries lie along trafficking routes.

They also say the agencies need to improve existing reception centers in Libya, where some migrants have reported being beaten, malnourished and tortured.

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This item has been corrected to show that Italy's interior ministry hosted the meeting, not the foreign ministry.

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1 p.m.

Greek authorities say two people believed to be migrants who crossed the border from Turkey illegally have been killed after being hit by a passenger train in northeastern Greece.

Police said Monday the two were hit in the Evros border region Sunday night by a train traveling between the city of Alexandroupolis and Dikaia. Their nationalities were not immediately known.

A police official said the two men had been walking along the tracks when they were hit. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as an investigation was ongoing, said the train driver told authorities he didn't see the two until the train hit them.

Migrants crossing into Greece along the land border often use train tracks as a guide to get to a town or city.

European and African leaders are meeting in Paris Monday to discuss ways to curb illegal migration.

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9 a.m.

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain are meeting with African counterparts to find ways to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean to European shores.

As a key transit point, troubled Libya is expected to be a key subject of Monday's discussions convened by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. The leader of Libya's internationally-backed government, Fayez Serraj, is taking part, along with Germany's chancellor, the prime ministers of Italy and Spain, the EU foreign policy chief and presidents of Niger and Chad.

Merkel said ahead of the meeting that she wants more support for Libya's coast guard and a "migration partnership" with Niger to inhibit migrant smuggling.

The leaders will also discuss security cooperation, and the European leaders will then hold separate talks focused on EU matters.

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