NEWS

US reiterates support for Greece on migration issue

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Washington has reiterated support for Greece’s handling of the migrant crisis on the Evros land border, with Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt saying it has every right to defend its borders.

Speaking during a teleconference with reporters on Friday, he noted that Washington supports the European Union’s deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants into the continent, stressing, in particular, that Greece cannot be left alone to manage the problem and that Turkey needs help.

He also noted that the recent appointment of Wes Mitchell as co-chair of a high-level expert group as part of NATO’s Reflection Process focusing on the alliance’s political future is a happy coincidence for Greece as the former US deputy secretary of state has been one of the architects of the increasingly close Greek-American relationship in recent years.

Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias asked for NATO to continue its operations in the Aegean to monitor migratory flows during the alliance’s summit of foreign ministers on Thursday and also slammed the weaponizing by Turkey of migrants.

Dendias said on Friday that he referred during the meeting to the recent developments at the Evros land border and the weaponizing of people by Turkey, “which undermines the values of the alliance.”

“There is no doubt that these migrant flows were totally orchestrated and reinforced by the Turkish side,” Dendias said. “Human pain was exploited [for political purposes]; this is the truth and this is not acceptable in 21st century society. I hope that this will become clear to the Turkish side,” he said.

Meanwhile, tension continued in the Aegean on Friday after a pair of Turkish F-16s violated Greek airspace over the islets of Leipsoi, Arkoi, Farmakonisi and Fournoi.