Israel's Netanyahu puts African migrant deal with UNHCR on hold

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a news conference at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem April 2, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he was putting on hold an agreement with the U.N. refugee agency to relocate thousands of African migrants to Western countries.

Hours after announcing the deal, which was opposed by right-wingers as it would give thousands of migrants the right to stay in the country, Netanyahu posted a message on his Facebook page saying he was putting it on hold until further review.

According to the agreement, about 16,000 of 37,000 African migrants who entered the country illegally would be relocated to Western nations while others would be allowed to stay in Israel.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Robin Pomeroy