Mitsotakis to visit trio of islands bearing the heaviest cost of the migrant/refugee crisis

Thursday, 27 February 2020 21:59
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will visit a trio of large eastern Aegean islands that are the heaviest hit from the ongoing migrant/refugee crisis in the region.

According to sources from within his Maximos Mansion office, Mitsotakis will visit Lesvos (Mytilene), Hios (Chios) and Samos, although his conservative government will not back down from a plan to build new - closed - shelters on the specific islands for asylum seekers and irregular migrants that have landed on the islands, and, by extension, future arrivals in case the flows do not stop from the opposite Turkish coast.

The announcement comes hours after Mitsotakis chaired an emotionally charged meeting with local office-holders from islands in the northern Aegean, most of which vocally oppose the plan for new camp sites, even by closing current "hotspots" that are overcrowded and often without basic necessities.

Government sources, immediately after street protests and even pitched battles between local residents and riot police erupted this week, attempted to defuse the tension, eschewing the "stick" - i.e. more riot police units transported from the mainland - for the "carrot" of dialogue and promises of better sea border patrols and an acceleration of the asylum process in order to start repatriating third country nationals to Turkey who do not qualify for political or humanitarian asylum.

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