20:49 GMT23 September 2020
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    Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO has agreed to provide support in assisting with the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe in response to a joint request from Germany, Greece, and Turkey.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) NATO has agreed to provide support in assisting with the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe in response to a joint request from Germany, Greece, and Turkey, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

    "We have just agreed that NATO will provide support to assist with the refugee and migrant crisis. This is based on a joint request by Germany, Greece, and Turkey. The goal is to participate in the international efforts to stem the illegal trafficking and the illegal migration in the region," Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels.

    NATO's standing maritime group deployed in the region would be tasked with reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance of illegal crossings in the Aegean, he added.

    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced on Monday that Ankara planned to team up with Berlin to propose that NATO discuss the creation of mechanisms to monitor borders, including in the Aegean, at its February 10-11 defense minister meeting.

    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced the maritime mission against human traffickers earlier in the day. German media cited US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter as saying that all sides of the military alliance had agreed on the need for NATO to take part in the mission.

    Over 847,000 migrants from Syria and other countries crossed the sea from Turkey into Greece last year, 805 of whom drowned in the Aegean, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

    Over 200 out of the 52,000 migrants who made the crossing in January of this year drowned.

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    Tags:
    refugees, support, European Union, NATO, Jens Stoltenberg
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