Ankara and Athens hold crisis meetings over surge of migrants to Greece

TELEMMGLPICT000207842342 transpVlberWd9EgFPZtcLiMQfyf2A9a6I9YchsjMeADBa08

TELEMMGLPICT000207842342 transpVlberWd9EgFPZtcLiMQfyf2A9a6I9YchsjMeADBa08

Ankara and Athens have held high-level meetings to discuss the migration issue and efforts by both the Greek government and the EU to manage the surge of migrant inflows to the Aegean islands.

The meetings began on Thursday, where German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos paid a visit to Turkey for talks in the framework of the EU-Turkey joint statement on migration, and also met in Ankara with Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

On Friday morning, they are expected to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. According to spokesman of the German Interior Ministry Steve Alter, the talks will focus on boosting collaboration concerning the agreement and on the situation in the Aegean.

Alter said that Seehofer and Avramopoulos will meet with Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis and Alternate Minister for Migration Giorgos Koumoutsakos at 4pm on Friday and are expected to make statements to the press at 4:45pm.

This will be followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who had chaired a comprehensive ministries-wide meeting on Monday and first announced the expected visits.

Meanwhile, on Thursday PM Mitsotakis chaired a smaller ministerial meeting at Maximos Mansion on decongesting the Aegean islands and managing the reception and identification centers.

The meeting resolved that the Ministry of Interior would provide support for municipalities and regions involved in the issue. Special Secretary for reception Manos Logothetis was appointed spokesman for migration issues.

A total of 703 migrants arrived on the island of Lesvos between Tuesday midnight and Thursday noon, authorities announced on Thursday.

The population living in and around the Moria hotspot in Mytilene, Lesvos has now officially exceeded 13,000 while the transfer of 570 asylum seekers from Moria to the Greek mainland is scheduled for this Sunday, they added.

The number of those hosted in Moria has increased by 140 percent in the period July-September 2019 (from 5,500 to 13,200) while 4,000 people have been taken from Lesvos to reception facilities on the mainland during the same period.

*Source: AMNA