Merkel to visit Egypt early March - ambassador

Tuesday 28-02-2017 05:25 PM

Joint press conference for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 3, 2015. Reuters photo

CAIRO, Feb 28 (Aswat Masriya) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to meet with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt on Thursday, the German ambassador in Cairo said on Tuesday.

This marks the first visit by Merkel to Cairo since 2007. Sisi made his first official visit to Germany as president in June 2015 after being invited by Merkel.

In a press conference, Ambassador Julius Georg Luy said that Merkel and Sisi will discuss bilateral relations and economic issues in a meeting which will be followed by a press conference and the opening of a power plant set up by Siemens.

Merkel is set to meet high-level figures including the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Pope Tawadros II as well as ministers and civil society representatives, according to Luy.

The visit will focus on bilateral relations between both countries, with specific focus on issues related to irregular migration and refugees in addition to civil society associations.

Merkel previously stated in September that the European Union (EU) needs to establish migrant deals with African countries such as Egypt and Tunisia along the lines of the agreement it already has with Turkey.

The EU and Turkey agreed last March that Ankara would stem the flow of illegal migrants to Europe in exchange for financial aid and the promise of visa-free travel.

Last week, Reuters reported two senior officials in Brussels to have said that the EU is offering simplified visa procedures and increased economic aid to Tunisia and Egypt in exchange for smoother deportations of unwanted African migrants.

The bloc already has 17 such deals, including with Turkey and Pakistan.

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