Athena, 10 Dhulhijjah 1437/12 September 2016 (MINA) – Europe should hold up its end of the EU-Turkey refugee deal, Greek Prime Alexis Tsipras said Sunday.
Addressing a news conference at an international business forum in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Tspiras stressed the interdependence between Turkey and the EU.
“[Greece] was in a very difficult situation, with the central European countries unilaterally closing borders and Greece having to accept thousands of refugees every day,” he said, but cooperation with Turkey solved the crisis to cut the number of migrants crossing into Greece daily.
“Turkey mostly held up its end of the deal, the flows decreased from 5,000 to 50 or 60, meaning from a number that is not humanly possible to control,” he said.
The prime minister added: “The deal states that we will stop the illegal flows but we will [also] create legal paths. These paths are the relocation and resettlement programs from Greece and directly from Turkey.
“Unfortunately, of the 33,000 places the Europeans had promised in 2016 only 3,000 have been provided. So the Europeans have to expedite the procedure.”
Turning to regional relations, Tsipras welcomed the rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow before outlining an ambition to turn Greece into an energy hub.
“We want the energy channels of the 21st century to go through Greece,” he told journalists. “This is partially achieved with the trans-Adriatic pipeline because it starts the southern crossing of natural gas into Europe.
“If more pipelines appear at our borders, we will rush to welcome them.”
Turkey and Russia are due to sign an agreement on the implementation of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline that will bring Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Turkey and into southeast Europe via Greece. (T/P002/R07)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)