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Greece refuses the joint patrols with Turkey in the Aegean

13 October 2015 / 19:10:32  GRReporter
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Athens has rejected the indirect calls by Germany and the European Union to launch joint patrols with Turkey on the maritime border in the Aegean Sea, announcing its decision in an official message issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating that Greece "has never thought" of instructing the navy and the army to deal with the arrival of war refugees.

A spokesman for the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the statements of spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had stressed the need for a "coordinated" situation in the Aegean Sea. He pointed out that, since the beginning of the crisis the Greek government has expressed support for a complex, European and coordinated solution to the refugee crisis but it cannot accept the ‘novel’ ideas of joint patrols that ‘have recently appeared’.

"The time has come to stop the game of responsibility assigning and focus on the solution," continues the message.

The Greek side stresses that it wants, and seeks to achieve, ‘multi-level cooperation’ with Turkey on solving the refugee crisis and fighting the trafficking networks. At the same time, it specifies that this can only happen "in a coordinated way", with real cooperation on information exchange and return of migrants.

The communication stresses once again that the refugee crisis is a pan-European problem and therefore, it implies and necessitates a more significant European contribution to the protection of Greek borders.

"The position of Greece is that it is necessary to explore the causes of the problem and that the European Union as a whole should intensively and constructively work to come up with a fair and democratic political solution, not only in Syria but also in Libya", the Greek Ministry emphasizes, adding that it is necessary to find a strategic solution to support Jordan and Lebanon too, as the two countries have also received huge numbers of Syrian refugees.

Hours after the message of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs was disseminated, the European Commission refuted the information that it had proposed the launch of joint Greek-Turkish patrols in the Aegean Sea.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas was firm, "The Commission has never proposed anything like this." He explained that Brussels considers "key" the cooperation between the European Union and Turkey and between Greece and Turkey with regard to the success of the actions to solve the refugee crisis.

"Anyway, Turkey should strengthen its land and sea border security," said Schinas.

Tags: PoliticsGreek Ministry of Foreign AffairsRefusal of joint patrols with Turkey in the AegeanEuropean Commission
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