Security and migration cooperation: Karin Keller-Sutter on working visit to Algeria
(Last modification 25.03.2021)
Bern, 24.03.2021 - On the occasion of a working visit to Algeria, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter met interior minister Kamel Beldjoud and justice minister Belkacem Zeghmati on 24 March 2021. The delegations of both countries agreed to strengthen cooperation on police, migration and judicial matters. The head of the FDJP was also received by the Algerian president Abdelmajid Tebboune. This is the first time a head of the FDJP has visited Algeria in several decades.
Migration and security are priority issues for Switzerland and Algeria in their bilateral relations. During a working meeting, the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), Karin Keller-Sutter, and Algeria’s interior minister, Kamel Beldjoud, confirmed their mutual interest in strengthening cooperation in these two areas.
Improvements to the system of removals
The readmission agreement concluded in 2006 between Switzerland and Algeria regulates the procedures pertaining to people in an irregular situation. Although the agreement is being applied correctly, the removal of Algerian nationals who are present in Switzerland unlawfully remains difficult. This is reflected in persistently high numbers of pending removals. The COVID pandemic has exacerbated the situation because all Algeria’s borders have been closed and international air traffic suspended since March 2020.
The two ministers agreed to seek practical solutions to better organise the repatriation of people in an irregular situation. Talks on the technical aspects of implementing these solutions will be held in the near future.
Enhanced police cooperation on combating terrorism
The meeting with the Algerian interior minister also focused on strengthening police cooperation. The Swiss police attaché in Tunis has recently been accredited to Algeria as well. The two ministers expressed their willingness to conclude a memorandum of understanding in order to intensify cooperation in the field of security and police. They will also seek to work more closely together in the fight against terrorism, its funding and money laundering.
Mutual legal assistance
Ms Keller-Sutter and justice minister Belkacem Zeghmati also discussed ways of cooperating more closely in the field of mutual legal assistance. These discussions are expected to be continued at a technical level.
Ms Keller-Sutter also paid a courtesy visit to President Abdelmajid Tebboune. During their meeting, they discussed security and migration cooperation going forward.
Algeria: a country facing various migration-related challenges
Algeria is an important transit and destination country on the migration routes from sub-Saharan Africa, and so has to deal with large numbers of migrants. As a country of origin of migration, Algeria also sees a considerable number of its citizens leaving for the European continent, often in search of better economic opportunities.
Cooperation with Algeria is important for Switzerland not only so that illegal migrants can be returned, but also so that the challenges of migration can be addressed in Algeria itself by introducing concrete measures in the interest of both countries. Against this backdrop, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has, for example, supported a project for the reintegration of Algerian returnees from Switzerland as well as projects for the reintegration of migrants who have voluntarily returned to Niger and Mali from Algeria.
Address for enquiries
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