- ATHENS, Greece (AP) " The Latest on the mass migration into Europe (all times local):
By The Associated Press
Posted Mar. 11, 2016 at 11:53 AM
Updated at 4:40 PM
ATHENS, Greece (AP) " The Latest on the mass migration into Europe (all times local):
Albanian police have increased their presence near the border with Greece fearing Syrian refugees could use the country as a new transit-point after the route through Macedonia and Serbia was blocked.
An Interior Ministry official said Friday that the border with Greece is monitored non-stop while other police forces check surrounding streets in the districts bordering Greece. The official was not authorized to talk on the issue and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Next week Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano will come to Tirana to discuss "technicalities" surrounding joint patrols of the Greek-Albanian border.
Tirana says it is ready to shoulder its share of responsibility of the refugee crisis in a "joint European plan," adding it has limited capabilities of sheltering refugees in transit toward northern Europe.
"By Semini Llazar
A Turkish official says five Greek islands would be "cleared" of migrants before a proposed deal with the European Union on the return of migrants to Turkey comes into effect.
The Foreign Ministry official told reporters Friday that the migrants on those islands would be taken to mainland Greece and resettled elsewhere. Turkey would start taking back any new migrants that arrive on the islands once the deal is in place, the official said. He did not name the islands.
The EU and Turkey this week agreed on the outlines of a deal that would send thousands of irregular migrants back to Turkey. In return, the EU would take an equal number of Syrian refugees who have found shelter in Turkey. The deal could be finalized at an EU summit next week.
The official said the aim of the deal is to discourage the illegal and dangerous migrant crossings from Turkey to the Greek islands and said Turkey was confident that these crossings would drop significantly days after the Turkish proposal comes into effect.
He added the EU would pay for the return of the migrants to Turkey.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
"By Suzan Fraser
A senior State Department official says the U.S. is increasing the number of refugees it accepts, including the number of Syrians.
Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland also told a press conference in Athens Friday that the U.S. "will continue to be a welcoming place for refugees."
Nuland was responding to a question on whether the U.S. was ready to increase the number of asylum-seekers it is willing to accept. She provided no further details.
On Thursday, Nuland visited an overcrowded tent city on Greece's northern border with Macedonia, where about 14,000 refugees heading for central Europe are living in dire circumstances.
Friday, March 11, 2016
The Latest: Albania raises police presence near Greek border