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Belgium: Cameron backs progress towards EU-Turkey refugee deal

9th Mar 2016
Belgium: Cameron backs progress towards EU-Turkey refugee deal

LONDON (AA) – British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday welcomed progress in talks between Turkey and EU leaders on a plan to resolve the refugee crisis.

Speaking after negotiations in Brussels, Cameron said: “It’s been a long and difficult evening but I think we do have the basis for a breakthrough, which is the possibility that in future all migrants who arrive in Greece will be returned to Turkey.

“That would, if implemented, break the business model of the people smugglers and end the link between getting in a boat and getting settlement in Europe.”

The European Union chief, Donald Tusk, said: “The days of irregular migration to Europe are over”.

However, former leader of the Liberal Democrats condemned Cameron’s policy as “immoral”.

Speaking to The Independent, Lord Ashdown said the Prime Minister’s support of a Nato mission in the Aegean Sea that will forcibly return refugees to Turkey was tantamont to the UK Government abandoning the very people it claims to be helping.

“There is great confusion about if they are going to take them back to Turkey or to Greece,” he added.

“They haven’t a bloody clue what they are doing. I’m just really concerned that, as usual, the Government has sanctioned an appalling and totally immoral policy without working out the details.

“I think they are getting away with blue murder.”

Under the agreement, those arriving in Greece would be sent back to Turkey unless they apply for asylum in Greece. For every returned migrant accepted by Turkey, the EU will take a Syrian refugee in a bid to reduce the numbers seeking to enter Europe by dangerous sea journeys.

Turkey has pushed for 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) to care for refugees on its soil, as well as visa-free travel for its nationals within four months and swifter EU accession.

EU leaders are due to finalize the plan later on 17 to March.

 

Author Michael Sercan Daventry

 

Additional Reporting by The Muslim News

 

[Photo:  Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels. Photographer: Dursun Aydemir/AA]

 

 

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