President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday stressed the need for collective efforts to be adopted to control the refugee crisis by changing public mindsets on the consequences migrants face in their quest to reach Europe.
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ghani said they discussed a number of important issues concerning bilateral cooperation between the allies, strengthening ties and focusing on the issue of the refugee influx into European over the past few months.
“It is a horrible process, it is a costly process, because every Afghan that tries to move to Europe invests something between $20,000 to $25,000 USD, and for everyone that succeeds in reaching European … (many) lose everything along on the way, we need to get the right information (out there) and make sure that everybody understands,” Ghani said.
Afghanistan and Germany will work together to find legal ways for resolving migration issues, Ghani said adding that the first step would be for Germany to divert focus towards helping with the development of 30 million Afghans inside the country, not 30,000 migrants.
“Dealing with legal migration is a joint responsibility – in dealing with the impact of illegal migration requires a proper framework.”
But Merkel said Germany is committed to helping Afghanistan.
“We are aware of terror threats in Afghanistan – 980 German soldiers will stay in northern Afghanistan and this proves our long term commitment to Afghanistan. We want the peace negotiation process with the Taliban to be accelerated in order to find a political settlement to the Afghan crisis,” Merkel said.
Afghans constitute the second largest number of migrants in Germany after Syrian nationals. But now it seems that Germany feels reluctant to host more refugees.
Ghani who is currently on a two-day visit to Germany held talks with German officials on a number of issues relating to the two nations including the issue of migration.
However, Merkel said early Thursday that Berlin will deport economic migrants and would only give Afghans asylum if their lives were under direct threat.
Merkel said Germany would meet its humanitarian obligations for Afghans who are in “acute” danger because they worked for foreign forces, such as the German military.
Merkel stressed that there is not sufficient reason to grant asylum or residency status to refugees who are seeking a better life in Germany, adding that in such cases people would be deported.
“But where refugees come hoping for a better life – and I know that this hope is big for many – that is no reason to get asylum status or residency status here,” she said. “And that one needs to think about the 35 million Afghans at home and the land has to develop with this. That is why we will, in such cases, have to send people back to Afghanistan.”
About 800,000 migrants sought refuge to Europe this year, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, causing the most severe migrant crisis in the continent since World War Two.
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