Migration minister extends olive branch to islanders

Migration minister extends olive branch to islanders

Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis sought on Wednesday to placate enraged islanders in the northern and eastern Aegean, calling for an itemization of damage to public and private property caused by residents of state-run migrant camps and pledging compensation.

The decision pertains to damage sustained in 2019 on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos and Leros, where tension has been simmering since the start of the week over a government decision to construct new pre-deportation migrant detention centers on expropriated land.

Responding to a breakdown in talks with the mayors of the five islands earlier this week, Mitarakis also sought to assure them that the existing camps will be closed down as soon as the new facilities start operating. “It is our political obligation toward the local communities,” he said.

Mitarakis’ comments come as Lesvos residents are planning a rally outside the Interior Ministry in Athens on Thursday.

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