Germany and Tunisia sign new pact on migrant flows

Germany and Tunisia sign new pact on migrant flows

Angela Merkel has sought to help Egypt in tackling migration to Europe as the German Chancellor visited the country ahead of a trip to Tunisia.

Since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has lacked a national government, which has made it the main gateway for African migrants heading for the 28-member European Union on unsafe Mediterranean crossings.

Merkel is scheduled to arrive to Egypt within hours.

Merkel, who is campaigning to win a fourth term in office in the September elections needs to take into consideration the public concerns regarding the alleged human rights abuses in Egypt and the region.

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"We have agreed with Tunisia to send back 1,500 Tunisians from Germany who have been refused permission to stay in Germany", Merkel said at a news conference with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in Tunis. She is joined by a business delegation that could sweeten the diplomacy with investments badly needed by both countries, which are grappling with sluggish economies, tourism slumps after internal turmoil and militant attacks, and high unemployment, especially among youths. Her North Africa visits were part of a larger diplomatic push which took her past year to Mali, Niger and Ethiopia.

Germany has said Tunisian bureaucratic delays meant it could not expel Anis Amri, the suspect in the truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people, even though his asylum application had been rejected six months earlier.

Germany has made strengthening economic development in Africa a priority for its presidency of the G20 group this year.

Germany has taken in more than 1 million migrants since 2015.