New meeting between Russia and Norway on returns on Wednesday

asylum seekers in Storskog.KIRKENES: A Norwegian policewoman together a group of asylum seekers in Storskog. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Russian and Norwegian officials will meet in Moscow on Wednesday next week to try to make progress in the deadlocked return situation.

Foreign Affairs confirms this to the news agency NTB.

The so-called expert group, who from Norwegian side consists of officials from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met last Monday.

During the meeting, the group will try to come up with solutions to the disagreements between Norway and Russia on which of  the asylum seekers can be returned to Russia, after the Russian authorities suddenly stopped all returns from Norway last Friday.

Russia refuses to let Norway return  asylum seekers who came across the border to Norway with  a one-time visa, but Norwegian authorities believe the agreement obliges them to allow this.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference Tuesday that Russia would not take back asylum seekers who had applied for a visa to Russia under false premises.

UD’s interpretation of the stance of the Russian authorities, is that they will only accept asylum seekers with Russian citizenship, residence permit or so-called multi-entry visa. This only accounts for around 700 of the 5,500 asylum seekers who came across the border from Russia at Storskog in Finnmark last fall.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today