Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday that the global community must undertake joint action to deal with refugee and migrant crises or else face dire social and political consequences.
“If today we don’t undertake coordinated action and do not replace illegal trafficking routes with legal ones, and do not proceed to resettle refugees in other countries, we will have failed,” he told the General Assembly, attended by heads of state and governments to discuss the large movements of refugees and migrants in a bid to organize a coordinated international response to the refugee crisis.
In his speech, Tsipras insisted the European Union must share responsibility, show solidarity toward Athens and fulfill the promises it made to Greece, which has borne the brunt of the 1.5-million-strong wave of refugees that has struck the continent in the past 18 months.
He slammed countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe that closed their borders to refugees and migrants in contravention of EU decisions, and warned that if there is no solidarity and the burden is not shared, then that will only further empower nationalistic and xenophobic forces on the continent.
“Europe is wondering whether it can maintain social cohesion without violating international law and the Geneva Convention,” he said, stressing the need for all involved parties to secure that the “difficult deal” signed in March between the EU and Turkey is upheld.
Tsipras was expected to meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with whom he was expected to discuss the migrant crisis as well as the ongoing UN-backed peace talks on the divided island of Cyprus.