Austria transfers 485 asylum seekers to Slovakia

Vienna, Oct 20 (IANS) Austria has transferred 485 asylum seekers to quarters in the Slovakian town of Gabcikovo as part of an agreement between the two countries, the ministry of the interior stated.

Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner on Monday afternoon visited the quarters, situated in the dormitories of a university in the southern town, with her Slovakian counterpart Robert Kalinak and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

The agreement confirmed in July had set out to relieve pressure on Austria’s main refugee centre in Traiskirchen, by moving some of the asylum seekers to the Slovakian quarters while their applications were processed in Austria, Xinhua reported.

The ministry reported that both Mikl-Leitner and Kalinak regard the cooperation thus far as “very positive”.

In the coming days, a further 15 asylum seekers could be moved to the quarters, taking it to the total stipulated in the agreement of 500. This comes after initial delays in the transfer of people, primarily because many initially did not wish to move.

A ministry spokesperson said it is typically the asylum seekers who lived in tents who are being temporarily shifted to the alternative living quarters in Gabcikovo.

Under the initial terms of the agreement, those whose applications are successful will have the right to move back to Austria under refugee status.

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