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Sudan to repatriate illegal migrants from Belgium

September 9, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Belgian Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration Affairs Theo Franken said Khartoum has agreed to issue travel documents to repatriate Sudanese illegal migrants in Brussels.

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Eritrean migrants wait aboard a navy ship in the Sicilian harbour of Augusta, March 4, 2015 (Photo Reuters/Antonio Parrinello)

Up to 600 illegal migrants, mostly Africans hailing from Eritrea and Sudan, hoping to sneak into the United Kingdom are now camping in Maximilian Park in Brussels, Belgium.

Following his meeting with the Sudanese Ambassador to Brussels Mutrif Siddiq Thursday, Franken told reporters that “Khartoum is ready to issue the required documents to facilitate the repatriation of its nationals”.

According to the Khartoum-based Al-Saiha newspaper Saturday, Franken said Belgium wouldn’t serve as a transit point for illegal migrants seeking to reach the United Kingdom.

He pointed out that the majority of Sudanese migrants camping in Maximilian Park don’t want to apply for asylum in Belgium but seek to travel to Great Britain.

The Belgian minister added that Mutrif has agreed to dispatch a team from the embassy to Maximilian Park to identify the Sudanese migrants so as to issue the required documents for their repatriation.

He pointed that the Belgium police would continue to arrest the illegal migrants, saying, however, the immigration officials will notify the detainees of their right to apply for asylum in Belgium before starting the deportation process.

Sudan, which is identified as a source of migrants and a transit country, is cooperating with the EU countries to combat the illegal migration from Sudan and Horn of Africa countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

In April 2016, the EU officially allocated Sudan €100 million to improve the living conditions for refugees, help Sudanese returnees to reintegrate back into society, and to improve security at the border.

Also, Sudan benefits from additional funding under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in particular from a €40 million programme to better manage migration in the region.

According to the UNHCR, there are 5,065 Sudanese who reached Italian shores by boat from Libya until the 31 August of this year 2017.

In a recent report on migrants, Amnesty International said over 2,000 migrants have died at sea while over 73,380 have reached Italy this year.

(ST)