Europe

Germany's Merkel visits Mali, offers help to fight extremism

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, looks at Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, during a press briefing after her arrival at Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. German Chancellor  Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, looks at Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, during a press briefing after her arrival at Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. German Chancellor Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press briefing with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after her arrival at Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press briefing with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after her arrival at Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, third left, walk with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, after her arrival at the airport in Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. German Chancellor  Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)

    Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, third left, walk with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, after her arrival at the airport in Bamako, Mali, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. German Chancellor Merkel is on a three day tour in Africa, visiting, Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)  (The Associated Press)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany wants to strengthen its cooperation with Mali to improve development in the country's unstable north to help fight against extremism, assure the implementation of a peace accord and stem migration to Europe.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita greeted Merkel at Bamako's airport on Sunday where she spoke before meetings with him and other officials. She is expected to focus on the implementation of a peace deal reached in June 2015 between Mali's government and armed groups.

Extremists who took hold of the north in 2012 were pushed out by French-led forces in 2013, but targeted attacks against peacekeepers and Malian security forces continue.

Germany contributes hundreds of soldiers to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Merkel will visit Niger on Monday and Ethiopia on Tuesday.