Tunisia PM rejects Berlin attack blame

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Deutsche Presse Agentur

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has categorically rejected any responsibility on his country’s part for a terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

The truck attack on December 19 was carried out by Anis Amri, a Tunisian national who had come to Germany as an asylum seeker.

Prior to the assault, in which 12 people were killed, German authorities had rejected Amri's bid for asylum, but he could not be returned to Tunisia because of missing documents.

“One thing must be made clear: The Tunisian authorities made no mistakes,” Chahed told the Bild tabloid in an interview ahead of his Berlin visit.

He said there were “no indications whatsoever” of Amri's radical Islamist views when he left Tunisia.

Chahed, who was welcomed with military honours by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, visited the scene of the tragedy on Tuesday, adding in comments to Bild that terrorism was an issue “close to Tunisians hearts,” with the country having also suffered attacks.

On Merkel's agenda for Tuesday is her bid to accelerate deportations to Tunisia as she works to toughen her asylum stance ahead of a national election in September.

The German chancellor has mooted the construction of a refugee camp in north Africa. At the weekend, she said possible solutions must “be calmly discussed in mutual respect” with allies in the region.

However, in the Bild interview, Chahed stressed that “Tunisia is a very young democracy” and said he did not think the country has capacity to host such a camp.

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