Tunisia, Germany strike new immigration deal

Merkel, on a two-day trip to North Africa that also included a stop in Egypt, said Germany and Tunisia had agreed on faster repatriations for rejected asylum seekers and job training for Tunisians.

Tunisia, Germany strike new immigration deal

World Bulletin / News Desk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a new agreement with Tunisia on tackling illegal migration during a visit Friday, following tensions over the case of the Tunisian suspect in the Berlin market attack.

The German leader, who faces elections in September, is under pressure to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to her country, which has taken in more than one million migrants since 2015.

Merkel, who was also due to address Tunisia's parliament, has urged the North African states to step up border controls and speed up procedures to repatriate migrants whose asylum applications are turned down.

Germany has said that 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.

Merkel said that the two countries had agreed that questions from Germany on the identities of Tunisian asylum seekers will be answered within 30 days.

"We will also help Tunisia to set up a registration system. Replacement passports are then meant to be issued within one week," she said at a joint news conference with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.

This agreement "will satisfy Tunisia and will satisfy Germany," Essebsi said, adding that it concerned about 1,500 Tunisians whose residency requests have been refused by Germany.

"Measures will be taken in the Tunisian consulates in Germany to help in their identification," Essebsi said.

Her talks also covered ways to respond to years of instability exploited by people smugglers in neighbouring Libya. 

"We know the political situation in Libya is difficult," she said, welcoming Tunisia's efforts to help resolve the turmoil.

"No-one is more interested in political stability in Libya than its neighbours, but I'll say, because of the migration issue, it's also important for us Europeans."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Mart 2017, 16:50