“Today we decided to take in 70 people who will be moved from third countries – they will be relocated from Turkey,” said Lithuania’s Deputy Interior Minister Elvinas Jankevičius, following a closed sitting of the Cabinet.
The deputy minister explained that it was decided to relocate Iraqi citizens from Turkey and the first refugees should come to Lithuania in early 2016. Turkey was chosen since this country is a NATO member state, logistics costs are relatively low, and Lithuania has an embassy in Turkey to perform selection. Moreover, Vilnius Archdiocese, which already has experience in selecting Iraqis who come to Lithuania, has promised its assistance.
Lithuania will give priority to the most vulnerable people – families with children. Such families, hopefully, will wish to get integrated and settled in Lithuania, Jankevičius said. He rejected criticism that by exhibiting its preferences regarding refugees Lithuania acts in a discriminatory manner. Lithuania previously had said that it wanted to take in Syrians.