German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday pressed Tunisia's visiting Prime Minister Youssef Chahed to cooperate more effectively on deporting rejected asylum seekers. The two met in Berlin just under two months after a Tunisian whose asylum application had been rejected attacked a Christmas market in the German capital, killing 12. But she also emphasized that: "If you do not accept this voluntary return, we must say we must also do it involuntarily".
"The biggest problem for Europe is refugees who go from Libya to Italy", he said, adding that German authorities needed to provide the correct paperwork to be able to send back failed asylum seekers to Tunisia. "That is not enough".
A spokesperson for the German government said the May 10 summit, which would include a meeting between Merkel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would be "postponed" due to scheduling conflicts, a statement that was later confirmed by Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nachshon.
Speaking to Bild newspaper, the Tunisian PM insisted cooperation with Germany on asylum seekers was working well.
It was largely a delay in getting the right documents, including identity papers, that prevented Amri from being repatriated.
Four days later, he was shot dead by Italian police in Milan when an identity check escalated into a shootout.
"Illegal immigrants who use false papers sometimes make things hard and prolong the process", he said.
However, Chahed said the terrorist Amri came to Europe in 2011 and waited some five years to commit the attack, so how he got radicalized was the question.
"Setting up camps or reception centers was not an issue (in our talks)", Chahed told reporters. Until now, the north african country has rejected attempts to set up asylum centres there to ease the burden on Europe.
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