Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

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Nato to discuss role in ending migrant crisis

Published 09/02/2016

Refugees and migrants arrive on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos
Refugees and migrants arrive on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the US-led alliance will discuss this week whether to get more involved in trying to stem Europe's ongoing migration crisis.

Mr Stoltenberg said he had spoken by telephone with the German and Turkish defence ministers, and that the issue will be on the agenda at a Nato defence ministers' meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Stoltenberg said that "we are all concerned". He said Nato's 28 member countries "see the need to manage and to tackle the human tragedy", and the problems associated with it.

On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu agreed that Wednesday's Nato meeting should discuss how the alliance "can be helpful with the surveillance situation" in the Mediterranean and assist the Turkish coast guard and the European Union's border agency.

Meanwhile, Austria's foreign minister says his country will substantially reduce the influx of refugees this year and urged the countries on the Balkan migrant corridor to be prepared to do the same.

Sebastian Kurz says that last year Austria accepted 90,000 people and will limit the number to 37,500 in 2016.

Mr Kurz said "we are aware of the consequences this could cause" on the migrant route that leads from Greece through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia before reaching Austria.

He said that Austria is ready to help Macedonia and the other countries on the corridor to stem the surge.

Most of the migrants fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia want to go to Germany and other rich EU states where they seek asylum.

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