Turkey calls on countries to fulfill refugee pledges

Turkish deputy foreign minister speaks after international promises to find 185,000 places for refugees

Turkey calls on countries to fulfill refugee pledges

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey has called on countries to fulfill their new offers of resettlement places for Syrian refugees.

Speaking after an international meeting in Geneva on the plight of Syrian refugees, Turkish deputy foreign minister Naci Koru said: "We had listened to the pledges by countries to admit and resettle Syrian refugees into their countries.

“Unfortunately, these pledges will be forgotten and will not be fulfilled."

Following the conference, UNHCR said on Wednesday the countries pledged new resettlement and humanitarian admission places, bringing the total to date to some 185,000; the EU also committed to resettle further refugees from Turkey.

Before Wednesday's ministerial-level conference, states had pledged 179,000 places for refugees and with the new pledges, the number increased to 185,000 which means only 6,000 additional pledges have been made.

"Our will is to provide assistance to Syrian refugees in neighboring countries to allocate them regularly in other countries," Koru said.

"The number of refugees who crossed the Aegean Sea and arrived on Greek islands in March on a daily basis, decreased to 900. That shows the effectiveness of the EU-Turkey [deal]," Koru said.

Noting Turkey's effort to stop human trafficking, Koru added: "Our goal is to stop irregular migration in Aegean Sea, put an end to the deaths of migrants and provide assistance for regular migration. This is the summary of our agreement with the EU."

The UNHCR estimates that at least 10 percent of the 4.8 million refugees in countries neighboring Syria will need resettling or other humanitarian help to safely move elsewhere before the end of 2018.

The number of refugees crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece from Turkey has fallen from a peak of more than 6,800 to around 400-a-day since the EU/Turkish deal on refugees came into effect, the Turkish deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The agreement, which came into force on March 20, provides for the return of “irregular migrants” from Greece to Turkey and is aimed at destroying the smuggling rings that traffic refugees across the Aegean to Greek islands, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

While there were 6,827 irregular crossings in Aegean Sea on daily average in October, this figure decreased to 2,174 in January, 1,967 in February and 900 in March.

Under a one-for-one formula agreed with EU leaders, for every migrant returned to Turkey, another will be resettled within the EU from Turkey’s refugee population. The arrangement will begin on April 4.

Last Mod: 31 Mart 2016, 16:47
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