EU ready to start talks with Russia over Syrian refugees - Russia’s Foreign Ministry


European countries, in particular Bulgaria, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, look set to join consultations between Russia and the European Union, if such ever take place, and to join efforts with Russia in providing humanitarian aid to Syria, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said, TASS reports.

"Talks on refugees have been held in Bulgarian profile agencies. Sofia appears interested in the Syrian refugees’ return to Syria on an exclusively voluntary basis," Nikolai Burtsev said. "They made it clear that they would like to join potential consultations on the issue between Russia and the European Union."

At a meeting of the Joint Coordination Center for refugees’ return to Syria the diplomat said that Bulgaria might have accommodated up to 180 Syrian nationals up to now.

Besides, Syrian refugees were on the table of talks with Slovenia.

"Ljubljana suggests increased funding to refugees’ home countries, including Syria, to create the conditions for the civilian population’s normal living and life activity," Burtsev said. "Slovenia would be ready to join relevant multilateral consultations within the framework of the EU common policy."

Slovenia does not view the sojourn of Syrian refugees, totaling about 460 people, in the country as a problematic issue that should be negotiated with the aim of their return to the home country.


Burtsev pointed out that the Czech Republic hailed international cooperation in delivering humanitarian aid to Syria.

"Prague has long taken on an active position at the EU. The Czechs announced principled readiness to cooperate in a broad international format in order to provide Syria with humanitarian aid," the Russian Foreign Ministry official added.

Italy’s Foreign and Interior Ministries in response to Russia’s request to give official data on the number of Syrian refugees cited the need to "update the figures," he said.

"According to a local office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, since the beginning of the Syria crisis the Italian authorities have received 3,836 asylum seeker applications from Syrian citizens," Burtsev added. "Italy has not provided any information on positive replies to those applications.".