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Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, held today a phone call with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi.
The High Representative and the High Commissioner discussed the current situation in Latin America following Filippo Grandi’s recent visit to Brazil and Chile, currently hosting large numbers of Venezuelan refugees and migrants. Federica Mogherini expressed her concerns about the humanitarian and refugee crisis in Venezuela and the region, and praised the work of host countries. They both agreed that there is a need to mobilise additional financial and political support to respond to the regional effects of the crisis in Venezuela. The EU has so far mobilized €127 million for actions both in Venezuela and in neighbouring countries, as part of a larger response with both diplomatic and long-term development efforts. They agreed to remain in contact on the issue in the coming weeks.
They also discussed the worrying situation in Libya, where the EU and the UNHCR are cooperating closely to assist refugees and migrants, including in the context of the tripartite European Union-African Union-United Nations taskforce. Through these combined efforts, over 4,000 persons in need of international protection have been evacuated and resettled from Libya to third countries and 48,000 migrants have been assisted to return voluntarily from Libya to their country of origin since beginning of 2017. Federica Mogherini took this opportunity to welcome the ongoing efforts of UNHCR and the government of Rwanda to establish an additional transit centre for refugees evacuated from Libya.
Last but not least, Federica Mogherini and Filippo Grandi spoke about the situation of Syrian refugees and agreed that returns to Syria are only possible when they are safe, voluntary and dignified and based on a well-informed decision.