Germany and Egypt sign migrant deal

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attends a press conference after a bilateral meeting with his German counterpart on 13 January, 2016 in Berlin

BERLIN – German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday that a migrant deal had been signed with Egypt to stop the flow of illegal immigration to Europe.

Speaking at a news conference after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, Gabriel said that although the countries "argued occasionally" about freedoms and rights, the two countries had a strong relationship.

The German government has repeatedly raised the issue of signing migrant deals with African countries to deal with the root causes of illegal migration.

READ: Merkel in Egypt seeking to reduce migrant flow

In March Germany struck a deal with Tunisia to tackle bureaucratic delays that prevented Anis Amri, the man who killed 12 people by driving a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin last year, from speedily being deported after his application for asylum was rejected.

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

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is campaigning to win a fourth term in office in national elections in September, will however need to balance public concerns about alleged human rights abuses in Egypt and across the region.