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Merkel Calls For Speeding Up Deportation Of Rejected Migrants 

Migrants stand in line for support services at government offices in Berlin (file photo).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on migration officials and other relevant authorities to speed up the deportation of failed asylum-seekers to their homelands.

Experience shows that the authorities could decide much more quickly whether asylum seekers can stay in Germany and whether their countries of origin were secure enough to return to, Merkel said on January 9.

Speaking in a conference of civil servants, Merkel also pledged to make a "national effort" to ensure that failed asylum-seekers return home. She pointed out that such efforts "will only succeed if we negotiate with respect with the countries to which they have to be returned."

Deportations and voluntary returns of people whose asylum requests are rejected have gained a new urgency following the December 19 deadly terrorist attack on a Berlin Christmas market.

Authorities say the suspected attacker was a rejected Tunisian asylum-seeker, whom Germany hadn't managed to deport because Tunisia initially refused to recognize him as its citizen.

On January 8, Germany threatened to end development aid to countries that refuse to take back rejected asylum seekers.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP