At least 18 Turkish officials have arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos a day after the formal start of an agreement with the European Union aimed at tackling the migrant crisis.
They will work closely with Greek authorities to help oversee the deal. It will see all migrants and refugees crossing to Greece illegally by sea from March 20 sent back to Turkey, following registration and the processing of asylum claims.
Despite the accord coming into force, some 875 people had arrived on dinghies from Turkey by Sunday afternoon, the government said.
Volunteer and local resident Rebecca Michailides commented on the situation:
“These people are desperate to have a better future, to get to much better countries… Even until yesterday they will risk their lives so we expect them to keep coming, maybe less than before but they’ll keep coming, I’m sure.”
Greece has until April 4, 2016, to put into place a fast-tracking process for assessing asylum claims.
The EU has pledged to set up a working group of four thousand people to manage each case on an individual basis, but doubts remain about how workable — or even legal — the deal is.
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