Tunisia vows to ‘take responsibility’ after Berlin attack

Tunisia will “assume its responsibilities” on unwanted immigrants, President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Thursday after Germany threatened to cut development aid to countries that stall on the return of rejected asylum seekers.

In response to failings which kept the suspected attacker at a Berlin Christmas market on December 19th from being deported to Tunisia before the carnage, German officials have threatened to end development aid.

“Europe must be calm. Tunisia is a country which assumes its responsibilities,” Essebsi told AFP during a reception at the presidential palace.

“We have accords with Europe. We have bilateral accords with certain countries, including Germany. These are good accords that will be implemented, by them and by us,” he said.

The president said Berlin had “identified… around a thousand Tunisians who are in Germany and do not have resident permits”, whose identities had to be verified before repatriation.

“We cannot force any country to keep Tunisians whose status is irregular… but we must first ensure that they are indeed Tunisians, something which is not always the case.”

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine published last weekend: “Those who do not cooperate sufficiently (on repatriation) cannot hope to benefit from our development aid”.


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