Arabic and International Monday, 28 August 2017
Germany said on Monday it had reached an agreement with Egypt to stem the flow of migrants across its territory as part of a wider effort by Berlin to stem waves of immigrants that fueled domestic political tensions.
The arrival of one million refugees in Germany over the past two years, mostly from Syria and Iraq, has caused sharp differences within Chancellor Angela Merkel's Conservative Party and has become a major electoral issue ahead of a general election on September 24.
Merkel and the European Union have already signed an immigration agreement with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees from the Middle East. Spokesman Stephan Zeibert said the deal with Egypt would "combat illegal immigration and criminal smuggling of people."
"According to this agreement, there are a number of measures for economic and political support to create a better climate and better living conditions for refugees in Egypt," Zeibert told a news conference in Berlin.
"Together, we will create a center for jobs, migration and reintegration," he said. The center will be in Egypt, a transit country for migrants trying to reach Europe.
On the other hand, the French president is preparing to host a summit in Paris for the "Big Four" in Europe, including Germany, with three African countries to discuss the migration crisis. The three countries - Libya, Chad and Niger - are major transit points for migrants heading to Europe.
Since Turkey and the EU reached a deal a year ago to curb the flow of migrants and refugees sailing from the Turkish coast to Greece, migrants have moved to a more dangerous route from North Africa to Italy.
In Libya, human traffickers operate relatively easily, but many migrants and refugees also leave Egypt.
In an interview published earlier this week, Merkel said she was undeterred by her decision in 2015 to open her country's borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees and added that she would not allow those angry in her policies to prevent her from running her campaign.
Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term, has faced high-sounding and persistent districts for her election speeches by protesters who are vehemently opposed to her policies on refugees.