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Israel joins US, others in rejecting UN migration pact

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday Israel would join the US and other countries in rejecting a UN migration pact set to be adopted in December.

“I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to announce that Israel will not accede to, and will not sign, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“We are committed to guarding our borders against illegal migrants. This is what we have done and this is what we will continue to do.”

The UN’s Global Compact for Migration, aimed at boosting cooperation to address the world’s growing number of migrants, is set to be adopted during a conference in Morocco on December 10-11.

Its final text was agreed in July after 18 months of negotiations and lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration and better manage migratory flows as the number of people on the move worldwide has increased to 250 million, or 3 percent of the world’s population.

The US quit talks on the pact last December, Hungary's anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban rejected it in July and Austria followed suit in October.

The Czech Republic said it will reject the pact and Bulgaria last week said it might follow suit.

Israel’s government has come under political pressure over the presence of some 42,000 African migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, and has sought to expel many of them.

Most of the migrants arrived in Israel after 2007, mainly through Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Security along the once porous border has since been significantly tightened with the construction of a barrier fence.

Many of the migrants settled in poor neighborhoods in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, the country’s economic capital.

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