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Monday, February 6, 2023
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Mitsotaki-Frangiskou Meeting – Message to the Vatican on immigration: Significant improvement in our country

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Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Saturday with the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who is paying a three-day visit to Greece. The Prime Minister sent a message to the Pope and the Vatican, as Francisco’s sensitivity to immigrants is known, that the situation in immigration in our country has improved significantly.

During their meeting, they discussed issues of mutual interest with Kyriakos Mitsotakis thanking the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church for his visit to our country in a year of high symbolic significance due to the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek Revolution, expressing special for his interest in major global issues.

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Earlier, Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with the Secretary of State of the Holy See (Prime Minister), Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

At the beginning of their meeting they had the following dialogue:

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– Kyriakos Mitsotakis: We still have very vivid memories from the visit of His Holiness in 2016 when he came to Greece during the refugee crisis. I am sure that tomorrow when he visits Lesvos he will see a much improved situation.

– Secretary of State of the Holy See: Yes, I have indeed been informed that the situation has changed radically.

– Kyriakos Mitsotakis: It has really changed radically. We have made a great effort. First of all we have created decent structures for the people who are on our islands. Because, as you know very well, the previous structure in Moria was a nightmare place. And now His Holiness will visit a structure that remains temporary, but meets the rules of hygiene and is dignified. And it offers people who have gone through incredible hardships the opportunity to apply for asylum in good conditions. And, of course, our intention is to build modern structures on these islands and work with the EU to ensure that this project is actually implemented. Of course Greece is a country that has welcomed many refugees in the past and will continue to do so. At the same time, we must work with Turkey to ensure that flows are further reduced and to dismantle trafficking circuits that are, in effect, instrumentalizing the suffering of desperate people. What we want to do is ensure that there are legal routes for immigration. For example, we welcomed more than 700 women from Afghanistan with their families and did everything we could to offer them international protection.

– Secretary of State of the Holy See: Did they come directly from Kabul?

– Kyriakos Mitsotakis: They came from Kabul through other countries

– Secretary of State of the Holy See: Because I know it is very difficult to get out of Kabul. Is not that right;

– Kyriakos Mitsotakis: It was a difficult and complex business. We have collaborated with well-known and trusted international Non-Governmental Organizations. And I was given the opportunity to meet some of these women and their families. It is really sad what is happening in Afghanistan after the progress that has been made in recent years in terms of women’s rights. But we felt we had a moral obligation to help these women and their families.

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