Friday, December 16, 2016

Syrian refugees could be sent back home to safe zones: Greek official

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said here on Thursday that Syrian refugees could be taken back to safe areas in Syria, Austria Press Agency reported.

Kammenos made the comments to the media following talks with his Austrian counterpart, Hans Peter Doskozil.

"We are in agreement that a solution would be to take the refugees back to safe regions within Syria, for example the south of Syria, under the supervision of international organizations," Kammenos said.

Doskozil said that while the conditions for this in the war-stricken country were not yet present, he had in the past also expressed himself open to the idea of such safe zones under international observation.

He added that more discussion about the idea was needed in the near future. Should the establishment of such safe zones work in Syria, he said it could also work in other crisis regions, where humanitarian aid could then be provided locally.

Both ministers also renewed calls for the establishment of refugee registration centers outside of Europe.

In addition, they said they wanted to work together with the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) to develop their official position vis-a-vis both safe zones and registration centers.

Doskozil said this would serve as preparation should the EU refugee deal currently in place with Turkey collapse.

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