Europe

Merkel visits Egypt, Tunisia to talk about migration

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pictured at a news conference  at the chancellery in Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Egypt and Tunisia this week  on Thursday March 2, 2017 and Friday with migration at the top of her agenda as she meets her counterparts in the North African nations.  (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber,file)

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pictured at a news conference at the chancellery in Berlin. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Egypt and Tunisia this week on Thursday March 2, 2017 and Friday with migration at the top of her agenda as she meets her counterparts in the North African nations. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber,file)  (The Associated Press)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Egypt and Tunisia this week with migration at the top of her agenda as she meets her counterparts in the North African nations.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday Germany is interested in helping Egypt strengthen its coastguard and clamp down on illegal trafficking across the Mediterranean, which leads to thousands of deaths each year.

Germany also intends to work together more closely with the two countries to curtail overall migration from Africa to Europe.

The German government will also talk about both Egypt and Tunisia taking back asylum-seekers who have been rejected in Germany.

Merkel will visit Egypt on Thursday and Tunisia on Friday. Beyond meeting the two countries' leaders, she will talk to religious leaders and members of civil society.