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Apr 21, 3:03 PM EDT

NATO: Efforts to stem migrant flows making a difference


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NATO: Efforts to stem migrant flows making a difference

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ABOARD THE FGS BONN (AP) -- Efforts to stem the tide of migrants seeking the shores of Europe are working, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference with Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Stoltenberg said the collective effort is "making a difference" and that the number of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea is "going significantly down."

Under an EU-Turkey deal signed last month, migrants arriving on Greek islands from the Turkish coast from March 20 onwardface deportation to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece.

The International Organization for Migration says Greece has seen fewer than 70 arrivals per day in the past 10 days, down from nearly 1,500 of arrivals per day before the deal was struck.

Stoltenberg also visited NATO's flagship Bonn, which is part of a flotilla that began patrolling the Aegean Sea in February, and met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Stoltenberg said Turkey, based on information that NATO provides, is "taking action to help break the business model of traffickers." But, he warned, the fight against trafficking requires "flexibility" as smugglers can "shift their routes rapidly."

He told the AP that the larger goal of efforts to stem the flow of illegal migrants is "to make something that has been illegal and disorderly and dangerous into something which is orderly and legal and safe."

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Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey.

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