Greece: Afghan refugees fly to Portugal for resettlement

International

Afghan refugees wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, board an airplane bound for Portugal at the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. The 41 refugees from Afghanistan were relocated as part of a migrant reunification plan agreed between the two countries. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Authorities in Greece said that 41 Afghan refugees flew from Athens to Portugal on Tuesday, as part of a bilateral agreement to resettle 1,000 people who have been granted asylum.

The Afghans traveled to Greece before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August. Another 43 are expected to fly to Portugal in the coming weeks, Greek officials said.

Athens is seeking to reduce the number of refugees living in the country through bilateral agreements with other European Union members.

Greece has the fifth-highest number of pending asylum applications among EU countries, following Germany, France, Spain and Italy, according to figures from the bloc reported for the end of June.

Athens has toughened its policy on illegal migration in recent years, stepping up controls at its land and sea borders with Turkey.

Earlier Tuesday, 11 unattended migrant minors flew to Paris as part of a separate relocation program.

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