Germany promised Tunisia financial aid on Friday as the two countries agreed to sign an agreement to smooth the way for Berlin to deport migrants to the North African country. The agreement provides for, among other things, the repatriation of about 1,500 Tunisians now living illegally in Germany.

Merkel also said the German government would provide Tunisia with 250 million euros in aid for development projects.

The minister's statements come a few days after Germany's Ambassador to Egypt Julius Georg Luy said that German investors would be interested in investing in Egypt, but still had questions about assurances in the sector.

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.

Essebsi, for his part, said the Tunisian consulate in Berlin had dedicated an office to verifying the identities of Tunisian asylum-seekers.

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"Measures will be taken in the Tunisian consulates in Germany to help in their identification", he added.

"The fact that you as a freely elected democratic parliament exist is a legacy of the great courage of the citizens of your country", Merkel said.

Merkel, who left for home later Friday, had also planned a trip to Algeria last week but it was called off after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika fell ill.

Merkel's meetings with the religious leaders followed bilateral talks with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Germany has made strengthening economic development in Africa a priority for its presidency of the G20 group this year.


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