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Greek Prime Minister Calls Pope Francis Lesbos Visit 'Historic'

© AFP 2021 / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI Pope Francis (2nd-L) speaks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (2nd-R) next to Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (L) and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II (R) upon his arrival on the Greek island of Lesbos on April 16, 2016
Pope Francis (2nd-L) speaks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (2nd-R) next to Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (L) and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II (R) upon his arrival on the Greek island of Lesbos on April 16, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called the Pope's Lesbos visit a remarkable event.

ATHENS (Sputnik) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the Saturday visit of Pope Francis to the island of Lesbos, which has become a symbol of the acute migrant crisis in recent years, a historic and remarkable event. 

​"Your visit is a very important opportunity to emphasize the need to stop the war and organize legal routes for the people who leave their homes and seek a better future in Europe," Tsipras said, meeting the head of Catholic church at Lesbos airport on Saturday. 

​The residents of the islands and the whole Greek people, facing great difficulties due to austerity measures, express solidarity with the refugees, the prime minister added.

"I believe your visit is a historic and significant event, and thank you for this initiative," Tsipras outlined.

Pope Francis gestures during a special audience to celebrate a Jubilee day for the mystic saint Padre Pio in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 6, 2016. - Sputnik International
Salvation Awaits: Pope on a Mission to Save Lesbos Migrants (VIDEO)
Later in the day, the pontiff is expected to meet hundreds of refugees in a fenced complex on the island.

The Pope’s visit to Lesbos comes as European countries continue to struggle with a massive migrant crisis, with millions of people from the Middle East, North Africa and beyond seeking to relocate to Europe.

More than 1.8 million migrants entered the European Union in 2015, according to the EU border management agency Frontex.

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