Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in his first address as the country’s premier from the UN General Assembly’s podium, on Friday focused on the resurgent migrant/refugee crisis in the eastern Aegean – speaking hours after yet another migrant-laden inflatable craft overturned in the sea, claiming the lives of seven people, including five children.
Mitsotakis warned that countries on the front-line of the illegal migration routes cannot along deal with the weight of the pressure.
“Greece cannot, by itself, withstand the weight of the mass movement of people fleeing wars and oppression, or simply seeking a better future,” he said.
Additionally, he reiterated that would-be immigrants do not view Greece as their final destination, but want to move further into Europe by entering the latter’s external borders, which in the case of the continent’s southeast quadrant coincides with Greece’s borders.
In a direct reference to neighboring Turkey, where the vast majority of third country nationals first assemble before being ferried onto Greek territory by migrant smugglers and people trafficking networks, he underlined that “these peoples' misery cannot be transformed into a weapon in the service of (achieving) political goals, by anyone and anywhere.”
“Turkey must do much more in order to fulfill its share of the (EU-Turkey migrant readmission) agreement. The recent surge in the number of migrants crossing the Aegean is unacceptable,” he stressed.
Beyond the ongoing crisis, he also referred to the punishing economic implosion suffered by Greece over the past decade – replete with three successive bailout programs – merely saying that a “new day has arisen” in Greece.