The Latest: 3 young Afghans stopped in Poland

AP News
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Posted: Jan 18, 2017 9:29 AM
The Latest: 3 young Afghans stopped in Poland

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

A Polish official says three young migrants with no documents are being questioned after illegally entering Poland, hidden in a truck trailer.

Dorota Kadziolka, spokeswoman for the border guards in Zakopane in southern Poland, said Wednesday the three — aged 10, 15 and 17 — say they are from Afghanistan. They are being questioned through an interpreter of the Pashto language, one of Afghanistan's official languages. They reportedly wanted to get to Germany or to Belgium.

A Polish truck driver discovered them in his trailer in cold weather on Tuesday when he stopped for refueling, after driving through Hungary and Slovakia.

The three were checked by a doctor and fed and put up for the night by the border guards.

Officials are to decide whether to return them to Afghanistan.

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1:55 p.m.

The head of the European Union's presidency is urging member countries to consider opening up humanitarian corridors to allow people fleeing conflict to cross the Mediterranean.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Wednesday that the EU's migrant deal with Turkey must be replicated with northern African countries otherwise "Europe will face a major migration crisis."

Such deals would see migrants screened in Africa to see whether they would be eligible for asylum or are job-seekers unlikely to be allowed in.

Muscat said the EU should "organize humanitarian safe passages and corridors that would get recognized asylum-seekers to Europe safely."

More than 181,000 people attempted dangerous sea crossings of the Mediterranean to get to Italy last year. About 4,500 died. Muscat is expecting another record year in 2017.

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1:50 p.m.

A Serbian government official says about 1,100 migrants remain out in the open in severe weather after only 250 people agreed to move away from the streets into a camp outside Belgrade, the capital.

Svetlana Velimirovic, from the government's refugee agency, said Wednesday that Serbia's asylum centers have enough room for all migrants but that most have refused to go.

Migrants trapped in Serbia have been reluctant to seek official help, fearing they could be deported or unable to move toward Western Europe.

Hundreds of men have occupied a sprawling abandoned warehouse by the Belgrade bus station, enduring freezing temperatures, snow and cold wind without any facilities.

Aid groups have criticized the Serbian government for letting the migrants stay out during winter. About 7,000 people remain stranded in the Balkan country.

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12:40 p.m.

Europe's top official for migration is deploring the plight of thousands of refugees and other migrants in camps on Greece's eastern Aegean island of Lesbos who face harsh winter conditions.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Union's commissioner for migration, says solutions must be found immediately.

Avramopoulos was visiting Lesbos Wednesday, accompanied by Greece's migration minister.

More than 5,000 people live in overcrowded camps on Lesbos, and hundreds had to be evacuated from tents that had been covered by snow during a cold spell this month.

More than 62,000 refugees and other migrants have been stuck in Greece since a series of Balkan border closures and an EU-Turkey deal on stemming migration last March.

Avramopoulos also promised action to reduce congestion in island camps.