Posted On March 2, 2017 By In None With 56 Views

Merkel in Egypt in push to reduce migrant flow

Cairo, March 2, 2017 (AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel landed in Cairo Thursday on a two-day trip to Egypt and Tunisia, in a push to limit migrant flows to Europe through North Africa, especially chaos-torn Libya.
Merkel is scheduled to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and then Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Egypt’s top Muslim cleric.
She will depart to Tunisia on Friday to meet Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.
Merkel is joined by a business delegation that could sweeten the diplomacy with investments badly needed by both countries, which are grappling with sluggish economies, jihadist attacks and high unemployment, especially among youths.
“The chancellor will speak with Sisi about, among other things, economic cooperation and opportunities for German companies,” her spokesman Steffan Seibert said in a video uploaded on his Twitter account.
A major focus in Egypt and Tunisia will be on their troubled neighbour Libya, a largely lawless country that also has porous desert borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan.
“Without a political stabilisation of Libya, we won’t be able to stop the human traffickers operating out of Libya who are responsible for by far the most arrivals in Italy,” Merkel said in her latest weekly podcast.
Since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has been riven by power struggles, making it the main gateway for African migrants heading for Europe on dangerous Mediterranean crossings.
Merkel, who faces elections in September, has been under intense pressure to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to Germany, which has taken in over one million migrants since 2015.
burs-se/dr

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