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Merkel visits Algeria, security and migration top of the agenda

Merkel visits Algeria, security and migration top of the agenda


German Chancellor Angela Merkel is on a two-day visit to Algeria starting Monday. She is scheduled to hold talks with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The topics to be discussed at this meeting are mainly expected to be around security, immigration and economic relations. Merkel last visited Algeria in 2008.

It is her first visit to Africa this year. She last visited in October 2016 and held meetings with leaders of Mali, Niger and Ethiopia.

Her country is in a process of negotiating with the north African countries for the repatriation of illegal immigrants. A year ago the German Minister of the Interior had reached an agreement with Algiers for the return of the Algerians whose right of asylum was refused in Germany.

The official Algerian news agency reports that both countries have signed an agreement since a decade ago on the return of illegally resident nationals living in Germany.

The situation in next door Libya is also expected to be discussed during the visit. Germany remains concerned about the political and security instability that has rocked Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

In addition, Berlin and Algiers want to strengthen their economic cooperation in various sectors. These include agriculture, public works, health, renewable energies and environmental protection.

Merkel is on record to have described Africa, with its population of 1.2 billion people, as “the central problem” in the migration issue. She said last year that the European Union (EU) needed to establish migrant deals with north African countries along the lines of the Turkey deal.

“Being an open society means that we should try to aim for a kind of balance such that the first thing for young Africans, when they get a smartphone in their hands, isn’t ‘I have to go where I see a better world,’ but rather that they live in a country in which things are at least getting better step by step,” she told an industry conference in October last year.

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