EU-Turkey Statement Addressing the Migration and Refugee Crisis

Press Statement
John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
March 18, 2016

The United States views as an important step the agreement reached today between the EU and Turkey on responding to the unprecedented flow of refugees and migrants in the region. We commend Turkish efforts to date in generously hosting more than 2.7 million refugees from Syria.

The United States has an abiding interest in the welfare of refugees and migrants, including those who are risking their lives in a desperate attempt to find safety and opportunity in Europe. We commend language in the agreement affirming that all refugees deserve access to protection and which makes clear the agreement will be implemented in full accordance with EU and international law.

We strongly endorse action to shut down the illegal smuggling operations that prey on and exploit vulnerable migrants. These actions will be key to the success of this agreement, along with rapid registration and processing of asylum claims, humane handling of migrant returns, quick provision of promised support to Greece and Turkey, and solidarity among EU member states in meeting their commitments to share in the responsibility of formal relocation and resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees.

The United States stands ready to increase our support to affected countries and to help other nations neighboring Syria. In addition to our own contributions to international organizations and non-governmental organizations -- and efforts to resettle refugees -- we will play an active role in mobilizing the world to do more, including by convening the President’s Summit on Refugees in New York on September 20th of this year.