Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yannis G. Valinakis has written an article in an Athens daily paper proposing a “Six-point plan on illegal migration in the Aegean.”
The most troubling of the six points is a call for the use of “a ship of sufficient tonnage to be used as a first reception and transport centre [which would] sail near the islands of the Aegean where illegal migrants have been arrested, it will take them on board and carry them to the reception centres already in, or due to be put into, operation.”
Such a proposal is reminiscent of a similar practice used by the US Government in late 1991 when the US intercepted at sea thousands of Haitians fleeing a bloody military coup d’état. In an effort to prevent the Haitians from reaching shore, US Coast Guard and US Naval ships detained Haitians on board large naval vessels in steadily worsening conditions. Ultimately most of the Haitians were transferred to migrant detention camps at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Other points proposed by the Deputy Foreign Minister include:
- “Immediate relaunching of EU-Turkey negotiations on the conclusion of a readmission agreement and an immediate implementation of the existing Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol.
- “Use of a specific port on the Turkish coast for the return of illegal migrants who have reached [Greece] through Turkey.
- “Intensification of joint operations on a permanent basis under FRONTEX … on the way towards the creation of a European Coastguard.
- “Proposal for the creation of a specialised FRONTEX branch in Greece.”
Click here for the full text of the article on the Ministry’s web site.