In talks at the UN headquarters in New York with Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his appreciation for Bulgaria’s generosity towards Syrian asylum-seekers.
So far this year, Bulgaria has received about 3000 asylum applications, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
This is three times the yearly average of the past decade. August saw a sharp rise to about 50 new arrivals – mainly Syrian families – a day.
More than 100 000 people have died, 4.25 million people have been displaced within Syria, and at least a further two million are refugees since fighting began in March 2011 between the Syrian Government and opposition groups seeking to oust president Bashar Al-Assad.
Ban and the Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, have repeatedly urged a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the Government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva communiqué of June 30 2012.
The Syria conflict will be among the main topics of discussion at the annual high-level General Assembly debate, which starts on September 23.
(Young asylum-seekers play in front of a reception and integration centre in Bulgaria. Photo: UNHCR/B.Szandelszky)