Greece says it will take two weeks to fix deporation system

9 April 2016
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Greece says it will take at least two weeks to fix the process of deporting migrants from the eastern Aegean islands to Turkey.

The country’s deputy foreign minister for European affairs, Nikos Xydakis, admitted as much at a press conference attended also by his colleagues from France, Italy, Malta and Portugal, as well as the foreign ministers of the Netherlands and Slovakia.

Deportations from Greece to Turkey have been temporarily halted as most of the 6,750 migrants in the Greek islands are applying for asylum and there is a lack of qualified officials such as translators to process the applications.

Most of the experts promised by the EU have not yet arrived.

French European affairs minister Harlem Desir is urging refugees from war-torn Syria and Iraq to follow legal procedures to seek asylum in Europe rather than risk their lives in the perilous sea crossing into Greece, which now leads only back to Turkey, since Balkan countries north of Greece have shut their borders.

Desir says France will welcome 200 refugees directly from Turkey “in the coming days and weeks.”

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