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Greece Won’t Accept, Will Block Afghan Refugees Fleeing Taliban

ATHENS – Repeating Greece's stance against taking in Afghan refugees fleeing the terrorist group the Taliban, Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said there's no obligation to take them.

The European Union's Dublin Regulation only allows refugees to seek asylum in the first country in which they land, most always Greece as well as Spain, Italy and Malta as they can't first arrive in Germany or France. 

Varvitsiotis said since Greece doesn't border Afghanistan, where the Taliban seized the country in a one-week blitzkrieg after being held at bay for 20 years by American and NATO forces who abandoned it, that it has no responsibility to offer them sanctuary.

“We aren’t going to adopt past practices of ‘we’ve opened up and we’re waiting for you,’” he told Real FM radio. There are already tens of thousands of Afghans in Greece being held in detention centers and camps on islands near Turkey and on the mainland as well. 

A majority of Afghans who began arriving in 2015 when more than a million people fleeing war, strife and economic hardship in their countries came through Greece in hopes of reaching more prosperous EU countries were given asylum.

But Greece's New Democracy government, fearing a tidal wave of new arrivals who use Turkey as a jumping off point, has extended a border wall along the Evros River border with Turkey and stepped up patrols in the Aegean.

“Greece cannot be a first host country for Afghan refugees and this message has been sent first of all by the premier, but also by all of us in all our bilateral or multilateral contacts,” he also added, said Kathimerini.

Varvitsiotis noted that “Europe has swept the issue of refugees and migrants under the rug,” stressing Greece and other Mediterranean countries’ reservations about the EU's proposal for the new Pact on Asylum and Migration.

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