Govt insists on Togolese refugees to return home

Banjul- The Gambia (PANA) -- Togolese minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration, Zarifou Ayéva, on Friday urged his compatriots who fled to other countries in the sub-region as refugees to return home and contribute to the development of their country.
"Togo needs the contribution of all its citizens to develop the country, and it's not by living in promiscuity elsewhere that that can be achieved," Ayéva said in an interview with PANA in Banjul where he is attending the Ministerial Council ahead of the African Union summit scheduled 1-2 July.
Ayéva said the problem of refugees should have been avoided now, "as some measures have been taken in the administrative, political and legal plans to enable all Togolese return home in order to build their country" after violence events in the wake of presidential election.
Ayéva said he had twice visited Benin with some of his colleagues to discuss with government authorities there and UNHCR officials in order to find a modus vivendi.
Refuges boycotted the last meeting that should been followed by the signing of a three-party accord (Togo/Benin/UNHCR).
"The process was delayed at some point because we could not ask someone who had his laundry in the indigo to come and iron white laundry, he has no time for that," Foreign Minister Ayéva said, clearly hinting at Benin's presidential poll, which was a greater concern for the country's authorities.
Reporting the declarations of some refugees who said they did not intend to return home under the same regime, Ayéva urged them to "face reality" and return to their country of origin where all dispositions were taken to assist them.
After the violence that marred the 2005 presidential poll in Togo, 25,000 Togolese, most of whom women and children, fled to Benin where they were notably accommodated in the camps of Comè and Agamè southeast).
According recent figures from UNHCR, the two camps now have just 8,000 Togolese waiting to return home.

30 june 2006 20:31:00




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