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Newly Appointed Greek Migration Ministry to Speed Application of Int'l Agreements (Video)

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Migration and Asylum Minister Notis (Panagiotis) Mitarachi. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Michalis Karagiannis)

ATHENS - The government must apply "a fair asylum policy that fulfils Greece's international obligations" but can also distinguish between who has a right to international protection, and who does not qualify, Migration and Asylum Minister Notis (Panagiotis) Mitarachi said on Wednesday, during his swearing-in.

The ministry, which had been abolished by the new government, will help in the speedier application of international agreements, he noted.

"We understand the burden of responsibility, especially since I, as a member of Parliament hailing from an island, could see the pressure migration flows level on Greece," Mitarachi said. "We need to apply a fair asylum policy, one that fulfils Greece's international obligations but can also effectively quickly distinguish between those who are entitled to international protection and must remain in Greece for a few years as guests, and those who are not entitled to it and must return to the country of origin, based on return agreements."

On his side, newly-sworn in Alternate Migration and Asylum Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos said "the international aspect of the migration is a weighty issue and is what I will focus on in my work."

"There is a great debate beginning in Europe on the agreement for migration and asylum, and this is a critical negotiation for Greece," Koumoutsakos said. "We shall be there, and we have been and will be tabling our own proposals and contributions."

Greece, he pointed out, "is a key country, held as an example in terms of how it is handling the migration issue at this very difficult region of the world," he underlined, calling the re-establishment of the ministry by the prime minister "the right decision at the right time.""

At statements to ANA-MPA earlier in the day, Koumoutsakos had said his new portfolio would include the international promotion of Greece's position, its representation at global organizations, negotiations for a new EU agreement and bilateral relations.

The two ministers were sworn in in the presence of President of Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.