EU says Iraq war could cause refugee problem

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Originally published
Athens (dpa) - A war in Iraq could trigger a wave of refugees that would affect the European Union and other regions, Greek Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis said on Friday.
The minister told journalists the exodus could be similar to refugee movements that followed the conflicts in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Armed conflict and instability always lead to people fleeing their homelands, Chrysohoidis said in his capacity as chairman of the E.U. Council of Ministers.

The minister, whose country took over the rotating presidency of the European Union on January 1, said the ''wave of refugees'' would not be limited to Europe or the Middle East.

''It is a global issue,'' he said, pointing out that during the Kosovo crisis countries as far away as Australia ended up giving sanctuary to displaced citizens from the Balkans.

Chrysohoidis said Greece's neighbour Turkey would require support to deal with the refugee influx if war broke out in Iraq.

Already two-thirds of all illegal migrants entering the E.U. from Africa, Asia and Middle East do so via Turkey, he said.

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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/10/2003 14:49:33

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