Greek PM calls for migrant burden-sharing, slams Turkey’s ‘gunboat diplomacy’

27 September 2019
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called for greater burden sharing when it comes to immigration, in a thinly veiled criticism of the failure of some central and eastern European states to take in asylum seekers.

“We are reaching the limits of our ability to tackle this problem,” Mitsotakis told the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday.

“Greece cannot bear alone the burden of massive movements of people,” he said while speaking of a “European challenge that calls for European action.”

In his first speech at the General Assembly, Mitsotakis deplored the “xenophobic agendas” of certain European nations that use the issue as a “weapon” for reasons of political expediency.

The Greek premier also urged Turkey to respect an agreement with the EU to stem irregular migration flows. He added that the bloc needs to move fast to adopt new common rules for asylum seekers.

In the same speech, Mitsotakis slammed Turkey’s “gunboat diplomacy” saying it undermines prospects to resolve the Cyprus issue. The island has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the north in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece.

“Turkey’s illegal drilling activities undermine efforts to restart negotiations and dangerously escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said while calling for a mutually-agreed comprehensive and viable solution in line with UN resolutions in order to “put an end to injustice.”

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