NEWS

Kotzias says closer cross-border cooperation with Turkey key to stemming migrant flow

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has said closer cooperation and better coordination with Turkey is key to stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.

Speaking Tuesday at the close of a two-day international conference on “Religious and cultural pluralism and peaceful coexistence in the Middle East” held in Athens, Kotzias said that Greece and Turkey have taken steps to strengthen cross-border cooperation.

“It cannot be confined to point-to-point cooperation, say one police station with another police station or one coastguard unit with another one,” Kotzias said.

“We have to opt for a top-down approach, which means that there must be an understanding and cooperation and concerted efforts exerted on all levels,” he said.

Kotzias, who has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of joint Greek-Turkish patrols in the Aegean Sea, said the two sides have to reach an agreement on how they are going to work in terms of return and readmission.

“We have to work in an integrated manner throughout,” Kotzias said.

On Tuesday, the United Nations said that over half a million refugees and migrants have arrived by sea in Greece this year and the rate of arrivals is rising with over 8,000 coming on Monday alone, in a rush to beat the onset of freezing winter.