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Russian diplomat: Migration crisis in Europe on verge of humanitarian disaster

March 04, 2016, 15:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian diplomat noted that hundreds, if not thousands, of extremists are reaching European countries disguised as refugees

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Children at the refugee camp near the northern Greek border

Children at the refugee camp near the northern Greek border

© AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. The current migration crisis in Europe has actually neared a humanitarian disaster and this critical situation gives grounds for serious concern, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said on Friday.

"We are closely watching the development of the, as a matter of fact, critical situation over the influx of refugees in Europe. And like our partners in the region, we are seriously concerned," Meshkov said at the OSCE Security Days conference in Rome. "We think that the current migration crisis has neared a humanitarian disaster in many of its manifestations."

First of all, the migrant crisis, in his words, has aggravated socio-economic problems. "It also provoked mutual intolerance, chauvinism and xenophobia. According to the European Commission data, the most typical form of discrimination in absolutely all European Union member states is discrimination on grounds of ethnic descent," he said. "In general, these reasons account for 64% of violations of the equality principle."

The Russian diplomat noted that hundreds, if not thousands, of extremists are reaching European countries disguised as refugees. "In this context, most serious attention should be focused on information from competent services about refugees exposed to have ties with terrorists," Meshkov said. "The level of crime and violence, including sexual (like in Germany’s Cologne on the New Year eve) has risen considerably."

"There is a threat of outbreak of infectious diseases," he went on to say. "Economic problems have aggravated as many of the refugees are not trying to integrate into society but are only seeking allowances. On the other hand, migrants’ cheap labor squeezes out local labor force."

Interference in Mideast countries’ affairs triggered refugee influx into Europe

Irresponsible interference into the affairs of Mideast countries has triggered an influx of refugees into Europe, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov went on to say.

The Russian deputy foreign minister spoke at the OSCE Security Days conference on Refocusing Migration and Security - Bridging National and Regional Responses.

"There are quite a lot of causes for the emergence of a new migration influx, a sort of a new resettlement of peoples, and they are closely interrelated," Meshkov said in a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

"But it was the irresponsible forceful interference of certain powers into the internal affairs of sovereign states in the Middle East and North Africa for the purpose of their destabilization and the replacement of unsuitable governments that was a sort of the main detonator that caused an avalanche of refugees and migrants coming upon seemingly well-to-do countries of Western, Northern and Central Europe," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

"The results are well-known to everyone: the disruption of economies, the destruction of the social and economic infrastructure and so on," Meshkov said.

"The unsuccessful attempts to impose model, Western samples of democracy on a completely unprepared social environment have destroyed whole states and turned huge territories into the zone of constant combat operations," the Russian diplomat said.

"Human capital is rapidly degrading in the countries that are being abandoned by indigenous residents and, a result, the prospects of development are melting away," the high-placed diplomat said.

The Arab Spring has quickly given way to the Islamic autumn, he added.

Amid these events, Moscow’s concern is caused by the position of the key European states and the United States "whose irresponsible policy has to a considerable degree predetermined the development of the situation in the Mideast region under the worst-case scenario," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

"In the Eastern and Southern Mediterranean region, the Europeans have followed Washington’s actions in their policy or at least acted jointly whereas now they have been left alone with the consequences of their actions," the Russian diplomat said.

As the Europeans have found themselves on the threshold of migration collapse, they have not yet come to a unanimous decision on the ways of exiting the situation they have created," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

EU starts to understand importance of comprehensive approach to migration crisis

According to Meshkov, EU measures on resolving the migrant crisis are fragmentary for now but EU leaders start to understand the necessity of comprehensive approach.

"The measures taken by the European Union on managing the migrant crisis are palliative, fragmentary in nature," Meshkov at Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference "Security Days Refocusing Migration and Security: Bridging National and Regional Responses" in Rome. "Coordinated decision are mot implemented in full and do not lead to qualitative improvement of the situation. There is no clear common policy," the diplomat noted.

"In such conditions, EU member countries take more and more independent measures at the national level aimed at toughening migration policy, introducing restrictions at intra-Schengen visas, strengthening control at EU’s external border, which automatically negatively affects neighboring countries," Meshkov added.

"At the same time, realization of necessity of comprehensive coordinated approach toward this unprecedented problem is gradually dawning upon them," the diplomat went on. "More and more often we hear calls for moving from ‘response mode’ to developing a common strategy of managing mass migrant flows," he added.

Meshkov noted that "it is necessary to create conditions for normal life in those countries from which migrant flows originate, facilitate the restoration of economy in those countries, reaching peaceful agreements where conflicts are ongoing."

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