Danish Party Suggests Cooperation with Syrian Gov’t over Return of Refugees
The liberal-conservative Venstre party, Denmark’s largest opposition party, has suggested that the country could find a way to cooperate with government of Syrian President Bashar Assad to return refugees whose asylum applications have been rejected or withdrawn.
While several consecutive governments, including one led by Venstre, rejected all cooperation with Assad, the party now suggests an exception to facilitate the return of refugees, the newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported.
The party’s immigration spokesman Mads Fuglede called for an agreement “in which we get Syria to take back its citizens”.
I envisage an agreement around the framework for sending people back and some guarantees that they can return without facing persecution”, Fuglede said on Monday.
“If Denmark doesn’t think that can be done, we should push for dialogue with the Assad regime at EU level”, he added.
To secure himself from criticism, Fuglede emphasized on Facebook that he was against recognizing what he called “the Assad regime”:
“To keep the record straight, Venstre wants to neither recognize nor blue-stamp the Assad regime”, he said, calling it a “criminal dictatorship”, which is more consistent with Denmark’s political rhetoric on Syria. “Still, we should discuss what to do with all the Syrian refugees in Europe as Syria has become safer around Damascus, and how they can safely return to their country”, he continued.
Still, the proposal to discuss a repatriation arrangement with Assad was flatly rejected by the governing Social Democrats.
“It would send the completely wrong signal that we consider Assad to be the victor in Syria”, the party’s immigration spokesman Rasmus Stoklund told Jyllands-Posten.
Other parties also slammed Venstre for their apparent willingness to cooperate with Assad.
“It is completely wrong to cooperate with one of history’s worst dictators… just to look tough. It is people we’re talking about”, Social Liberal immigration spokesperson Andreas Steenberg tweeted.