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Sat, 13 Feb, 2016 12:02:42 AM
Finland-Russia discuss refugee issues in Germany
FTimes – STT Report, Feb 13

Finland and Russia hoped to reach a satisfactory solution for both the countries regarding the ongoing refugee crisis.

Finland President Sauli Niinistö and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met in Germany on Friday night where both the leaders are visiting now to participate in the Munich Security Council.

“We all certainly hope that a solution which will satisfy all of us can be found,” said Niinistö according to an official press release from the Office of the President.

The President said both Finland and Russia are safe countries and that the asylum seekers should not have the possibility of having to choose between the countries.

Earlier in an interview the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev said that Russia might prevent the flow of asylum seekers crossing Russian borders to Finland.

Talking to a German daily Handelsblatt on Friday, Medvedev, however, said that Russia does not have legal obligations to block asylum seekers referring to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Russia is, however, ready to cooperate to find solutions to prevent the refugee crisis, said Medvedev.

The Russian Premier said also said that he was aware of the Finnish leadership concerns about the refugee crisis.

Medvedev's interview has been published by the online version of Handelsblatt and the Russian government has published the transcript of the interview on its website.

In the interview, Medvedev criticised the Europe’s policy on dealing with the flow of refugees.

According to Medvedev, “it was ‘silly’ for Europe to simply open its borders to all asylum seekers”.

He also said that hundreds and possibly thousands who are fleeing the conflicts are “potential time bombs”.

“Some of these people – and it’s not just a few strange individuals or utter scoundrels, but hundreds and possibly thousands – are entering Europe as potential time bombs, and they will fulfil their missions as robots when they are told to,” Medvedev said.

News Agency Xinhua adds: Finnish Interior Minister Petteri Orpo on Friday said he believed a solution can be found to tackle the influx of asylum seekers crossing from Russia to Finland.

Orpo made the remarks to local media following the publication of comments made by Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev saying that Russia had "no lawful way to stop persons who want to cross into Finland".

Orpo said it is true that the Russians cannot prevent asylum seekers from applying for asylum in Finland. However, he added that Russia knows that the Finnish leaders are disappointed with the situation.

“I can see that Russia is ready to seek a solution to prevent illegal entries,” he was quoted by newspaper Helsingin Sanomat as saying.

Orpo said he would not speculate as to what kind of agreement could be reached, but said he believed a solution could be found within weeks rather than months.

Recently, Finland has been seeking diplomatic means to solve the migration problem with Russia, but no any notable progress has been made yet.

In the past months, more than 1,000 asylum seekers crossed the Finnish-Russian border to enter Finland without a valid Schengen visa. The number of arrivals has been surging in recent weeks.


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