Executive Summary for August 4th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, as the E.U.-Turkey pact holds ‘for now’, hopes are dashed of a concrete outcome from the U.N. summit and Italy looks for ISIS links to migrant flows.

Published on Aug. 4, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Turkish Pact With E.U. Holds ‘Up to Now’

The E.U.-Turkey migrant deal is holding, said Greece’s migration minister. The remarks by Ioannis Mouzalas came after Turkey warned it may back out of the agreement.

German newspaper Bild earlier published comments from Mouzalas that appeared to cast doubt on the deal, in which he said a “plan B” was needed.

The Greek ministry later released a transcript of remarks in which he said: “Up to now the agreement is well-kept. Of course we are worried, but up to now, the number of people arriving on our islands is not an indication of non-compliance towards whatever has been agreed.”

An attempted coup in Turkey and a continued tussle over visa-free travel for Turks in the European Union have cast doubt over the future of the pact.

Mevlüt Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said over the weekend that Ankara would back out of the agreement if the E.U. did not make good its promise of visa-free travel.

There has been a small uptick in the numbers of migrants and refugees arriving on the Greek islands in recent weeks but no repeat, as yet, of the large numbers seen earlier in the year.

No Concrete Target for Refugee Resettlements From U.N.

Hopes that United Nations members would reach a concrete target for resettling refugees in developed countries have been dashed. Negotiators from all U.N. member states could not agree on a deal to resettle 10 percent of refugees.

Ahead of two major summits on the refugee crisis in September the target would have been the centerpiece of efforts to deal with critical numbers of displaced people. A pre-summit statement that had been expected to include the target has been redrafted and the commitment is absent.

Just as the E.U. has failed to persuade its members to sign up to resettlement quotas, world leaders cannot find unanimity at the U.N. Some 86 percent of the world’s displaced people are staying in developing countries. It was hoped that the September meetings would result in fresh commitments from richer nations to address this imbalance.

Italy Investigates ISIS Links to Libya Traffickers

Italy is investigating whether Islamic State is involved in trafficking migrants into Europe.

Italy’s justice ministry said it was looking into possible ISIS (Islamic State) involvement in the heavy flow of migrants from Libya.

“From the information available, there is an investigation under way focused on whether representatives of ISIS have crucial roles in controlling and managing migrant flows to Italy,” justice minister Andrea Orlando told a parliamentary committee.

More than 257,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). A total of 4,027 migrants or refugees have died worldwide so far this year, three-quarters of them in the Mediterranean.

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