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Embassy says Russia ready to cooperate with Norway on asylum-seekers' return — embassy

January 25, 21:42 UTC+3 OSLO
Last week the Russian side shut the border post for "foreign nationals or persons without citizenship, who had entered the Kingdom of Norway for obtaining the status of refugee"
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Two refugees use bikes to cross the border between Norway and Russia

Two refugees use bikes to cross the border between Norway and Russia

© EPA/CORNELIUS POPPE

OSLO, January 25. /TASS/. The Russian authorities will keep cooperating with Oslo on return to Russia of refuges who arrived in Norway across their common border, the Russian Embassy to Norway said in a statement circulated on Monday.

The embassy confirmed that last week the Russian side shut the border post for "foreign nationals or persons without citizenship, who had entered the Kingdom of Norway for obtaining the status of refugee".

This was done in compliance with a bilateral agreement on the Borisoglebsk-Storskog border crossing point, envisaging restrictions or closure of the border in case of an emergency, an epidemic or epizooty or for considerations of safety, it said. The latter was cited as the reason behind the decision in this case.

"The Russian side, however, is ready to continue cooperating with Norway in this sphere and intends to further comply with provisions of the Readmission Agreement of 2007," the statement said. It said Russian-Norwegian consultations were due shortly to discuss the situation.

Deportation of refugees from Norway to Russia was suspended at the end of last week, after 13 failed asylum seekers were brought to the Russian city of Nikel on Wednesday. Before the end of the week, the Norwegian authorities planned to send to Russia from Kinkenes, a city on the Russian border, another 80 migrants, who actively protested against these plans and received support from local residents and human right activists.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende told Tass on Monday that he hoped Norway and Russia would shortly coordinate a new procedure of return that would suit both sides.

He said Norway maintained a successful dialogue with Russia on refugees since autumn. The minister said thousands of asylum seekers had used to arrive in Norway across the Russian border, but due to mutual understanding achieved between the two countries the number of refugees sharply decreased.

He said the sides had agreed on the return to Russia of part of asylum seekers, but still disagreed as to the return of the holders of single entry visas to Russia, noting that a dialogue on that continued in an atmosphere of mutual understanding.

According to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, about 700 people with multi-entry visas, residence permit or other documents giving them the right to return to Russia and stay there, had crossed into Norway from Russia. Over the past few months, the Norwegian authorities have deported to Russia more than 400 asylum-seekers. Russia insists that it cannot take back the holders of tourist or visitor visas to Russia stamped and thus extinguished on the border with Norway, as well as people who had tried to stay in Norway as refugees getting an order to leave the country from the Russian Federal Migration Service.

Last year, from August to December, more than 5,500 asylum seekers entered Norway by using the so-called "Arctic route" through Moscow, Murmansk and Nikel village. Those were mainly citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. A similar situation has been seen on the Russian-Finnish border in the past few weeks.

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