TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia agreed Friday to speed its acceptance of 1,500 citizens whose asylum applications were rejected by Germany, accepting a 250-million-euro ($264 million) loan to help develop rural regions and create jobs for young people.
The agreement between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi comes in the wake of the fatal attack in Berlin carried out by a Tunisian who drove a truck into a Christmas market, killing 12 and injuring dozens of others. Anis Amri's asylum request was rejected, but Germany has said Tunisian bureaucratic delays meant he hadn't yet been expelled. Amri, who was later shot dead in Italy, had pledged fealty to the Islamic State group.
Merkel said she and Essebsi agreed Friday that the identities of some 1,500 Tunisian asylum-seekers rejected by Germany would be resolved by Tunisia within 30 days. Germany will help Tunisia set up a registration system, and identity papers are expected to be issued within a week.
The two leaders did not specify whether the accord would only deal with people believed to be illegal migrants or also those suspected of radicalization.
But Merkel evoked the chaos in neighboring Libya and said Germany would contribute to a system of surveillance on the 500-kilometer (300-mile) border Tunisia and Libya share.
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