Germany, Egypt sign deal to halt migrant flow

Published 28.08.2017 14:57
Updated 28.08.2017 14:58
emEPA Photo/em
EPA Photo

Germany has reached an agreement with Egypt to slow the flow of migrants from the North African nation, the government announced Monday.

The agreement is part of a wider effort by Germany to work with countries to fight the causes of unchecked migration.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that the new agreement will provide Egypt with more resources to run training programs to help people find better jobs, and more funds for Egyptians to study in Germany.

The arrival in Germany of a million refugees over the last two years, mainly from Syria and Iraq, opened deep rifts in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party and is becoming a campaign theme ahead of a Sept. 24 national election as it stoked domestic political tensions.

Merkel and the European Union have already sealed a migrants deal with Turkey to stem the flow from the Middle East and her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the Egypt deal would "fight illegal immigration and the criminal smuggling of people."

"Under this agreement, there are a number of measures for political and economic support so that a better climate and better living conditions can be achieved for refugees in Egypt," Seibert told a regular government news conference in Berlin. "Together, we will set up a center for jobs, migration and reintegration", he added. This center would be in Egypt, a transit country for migrants striving to reach Europe.

In Paris, meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron prepared to host a summit of Europe's "big four" continental powers including Germany, as well as three African nations to tackle Europe's migrant crisis. Libya, Chad and Niger are all transit nations for migrants bound for Europe.

Since Turkey and the EU reached an agreement a year ago to curb the flow of migrants and refugees sailing from Turkish shores to Greece, most migrants have taken the more dangerous route from North Africa to Italy.

In Libya, people traffickers have operated with relative ease, but many migrants and refugees also set off from Egypt.

Merkel said in a weekend newspaper interview she has no regrets about her 2015 decision to open Germany's borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees and added she will not be deterred from campaigning by angry hecklers.

Seeking a fourth term, Merkel has had to contend with loud and sustained heckling on her campaign trail from demonstrators strongly opposed to her refugee policies.

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