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Greece to Open 5 Migrant Processing Centers on Lesbos

  • VOA News

Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn, left, Greece's alternate Immigration Policy Minister Ioannis Mouzalas, and European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos during a news conference in Athens, Oct. 10, 2015.

Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn, left, Greece's alternate Immigration Policy Minister Ioannis Mouzalas, and European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos during a news conference in Athens, Oct. 10, 2015.

Greece pledged to open five migrant processing centers, during talks with its European Union partners in Athens Saturday.

The first so-called “hotspot” reception center is expected to open in Mitilini of the island of Lesbos in the next 10 days, according to Luxembourg’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn. Those centers are important for relocating and distributing asylum-seekers in other European countries, Asselbon said.

"In Mitilini, the first receptions centers will be operational in a week to 10 days, and on four other islands we will have installed these 'hotspots' these reception centers," he said. "Good, I will repeat it one more time, without this, there is no way to organize relocations, a distribution of the seekers in other European countries. So it is in the interest of Greece, and it is in the interest of the European Union."

A woman screams for help after she and her daughter fell in the water as they arrive along the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Oct. 2 , 2015.

A woman screams for help after she and her daughter fell in the water as they arrive along the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Oct. 2 , 2015.

UNHCR

Earlier this week, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) welcomed EU efforts to support frontline member states receiving large numbers of migrants, but warned strates not to turn “hotspots” into “detention centers in disguise.”

The wave of migrant and refugees continues, with hundreds taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea every day in the worst European refugee crisis since World War II.

The International Organization for Migration says 2,989 migrants have died in 2015 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean and 580,238 have landed on European shores to escape war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The 15-member U.N. Security Council voted to authorize the European Union and other nations to board, search, and seize vessels suspected of human trafficking in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya.

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