The U.S. views the agreement reached between Turkey and the EU as an important step to respond to the flow of refugees and migrants in the region, the State Department said Friday.
“We commend Turkish efforts to date in generously hosting more than 2.7 million refugees from Syria,” spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
“The United States has an abiding interest in the welfare of refugees and migrants, including those who are risking their lives in a desperate attempt to find safety and opportunity in Europe”.
Under the deal reached Friday, all refugees and all migrants arriving in Europe via Greece after March 20 would be returned to Turkey after individual assessments that are in full compliance with international law.
In return, the EU member states will resettle Syrian refugees already in Turkish camps starting on April 4.
Kirby commended language in the agreement that acknowledges all refugees deserve access to protection and that the deal will be implemented in full accordance with EU and international law.
“We strongly endorse action to shut down the illegal smuggling operations that prey on and exploit vulnerable migrants,” he said. “These actions will be key to the success of this agreement, along with rapid registration and processing of asylum claims, humane handling of migrant returns, quick provision of promised support to Greece and Turkey.”
According to Kirby, the deal will also mark the solidarity among EU member states in meeting their commitments to share in the responsibility of formal relocation and resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees.
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