TROMSOE (Norway), (Sputnik) — In November, the Norwegian authorities closed the border for migrants and made changes to the immigration laws — the asylum would be denied if the applicant came from a country where his life was not threatened.
The mass departure came after Russia agreed that Norway could return migrants who hold a Russian visa by bus. According to Norwegian police, refugees who were denied asylum in Norway were to be delivered to the Russian residential areas closest to the border.
"Russia wants to engage in dialogue with Norway on the coordination of procedures for the return. We understand that. We will continue talks on the issue this week. Until that time, the deportation will be suspended," the minister was quoted by the NRK broadcaster as saying.
Brende recalled that the key reason behind the deportation was security concern, as well as the need for more concerted action agreed by both parties.
On Tuesday, 13 refugees were deported from Norway to Russia under an agreement to return them through the Storskog checkpoint by bus. A group of 30 refugees were due to arrive in Russia on Thursday, but the deportation was postponed for various reasons given by Norwegian officials.
The fate of some additional 80 refugees detained in northern Norway is still unclear. Police arrested them on Friday, which means deportation within three days.
The northernmost migrant route has been used by an estimated 5,500 people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa as Europe continues to grapple with the greatest refugee crisis in decades.
Last year Norway deported some 400 asylum seekers to Russia, who had the documents that allowed them to stay on Russian soil.