Greece says it ‘cannot become gateway’ to EU for fleeing Afghans

Greece says it ‘cannot become gateway’ to EU for fleeing Afghans

Greece cannot be the entry point for Afghans trying to flee to Europe, the country’s migration minister has warned.

Notis Mitarachi’s comment comes two days after the Taliban took full control over Afghanistan by capturing Kabul.

Amid the ensuing chaos, thousands of Afghans hurried to the city’s airport, where they desperately attempted to board flights to flee the militant group’s rule.

Some countries have said they intend to launch resettlement schemes for Afghan refugees, but have not outlined specific plans.

Greek ministers, however, are worried about what a mass exodus from Afghanistan could mean for their country. During the 2015 migration crisis, almost one million people escaping conflict arrived on Greece’s shores.

“We are clearly saying that we will not and cannot be the gateway of Europe for the refugees and migrants who could try to come to the European Union,” Mr Mitarachi said on Tuesday.

“The solution needs to be common, and it needs to be a European solution,” he added.

EU foreign ministers will convene on Tuesday to talk about the fall of Afghanistan. The bloc’s home affairs ministers are then meeting on Wednesday, with Greece requesting that the issue also be discussed then.

George W. Bush, who started the “war on terror”, is among those who has spoken of the urgent need for countries to accommodate refugees from Afghanistan.

He said that the US has “the responsibility and the resources to secure safe passage for them now, without bureaucratic delay”.

Albania, Kosovo and Uganda have all agreed to accept Afghan refugees temporarily, after receiving requests from the US.

In the UK, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said a “bespoke” resettlement scheme was being considered after the Taliban’s power grab.

The UK has “always been a country that has provided safe haven for those fleeing persecution,” he told BBC Breakfast. Reports suggest it could be modelled on the scheme used to bring 20,000 Syrians to Britain.

Additional reporting from agencies

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