Foreign min denies Israel migrant deal (4)

An African migrant sleeps in a street in Tel Aviv Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu canceled his plan to help resettle migrants

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Recall that the government of Israel had issued a notice for thousands of African migrants to leave the country or face imprisonment.

He said in a late-night Facebook post on Monday he was suspending the agreement that would have allowed thousands of the migrants to remain in Israel at least temporarily.

African migrants and Israeli activists demonstrate in support of the new agreement with the United Nations refugee agency to relocate thousands of African migrants, outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem April 3, 2018. But in the hours that followed the announcement he faced growing calls on social and mainstream media to abolish the deal. He said he was freezing the deal until he could meet with Israeli residents of south Tel Aviv, areas with large migrant populations who feel slighted by the deal.

In a statement on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he held meetings with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and representatives of residents of southern Tel Aviv to discuss the agreement.

Netanyahu said he had listened "attentively many comments on the agreement, and (.) after reassessing its advantages and disadvantages I chose to cancel it".

Implementing the signed agreement was expected to take five years and Netanyahu's backtrack was largely seen in Israel as an attempt to appease his voter base and keep its support at a time of political uncertainty. The prime minister is the subject of police investigations into suspected corruption, which he denies, in the greatest challenges to his career yet.

His calls were soon echoed by members of Netanyahu's own Likud party.

Due to worldwide pressure, both Rwanda and Uganda announced that they would not take part in the deportation plan.

More news: Israel reaches landmark deal with United Nations to resettle African migrants

The agreement was created to end the possibility of forced deportations of thousands of migrants to Rwanda under a controversial plan put forward by Netanyahu in January.

Netanyahu announced the deal on Monday after a plan to deport the migrants to an unnamed African country, presumed to be Rwanda, fell through.

At immigration hearings, migrants were told they could choose to go to Rwanda or Uganda.

By Tuesday, the deal was dead.

Israel has canceled a deal reached with the United Nations that would have relocated thousands of African migrants to the West, just a day after announcing the plan. The Israeli supreme court last month ordered a temporary halt to the expulsion plan, demanding more details from the state on the agreement the government claimed it had with Rwanda to take deportees.

The UNHCR urged Netanyahu to "reconsider" his decision to scrub the deal.

Migrants began entering Israel through what was then a porous Egyptian border in 2007.

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