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'It's absolutely fake news': Albanian Ambassador says 'no talks' with UK over migrants

19 November 2021, 08:04 | Updated: 19 November 2021, 08:38

By Daisy Stephens

The Albanian Ambassador Qirjako Qirko has hit out at the UK Government and said claims it was in talks with Albania to fly cross-Channel migrants there are "absolutely fake news".

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Mr Qirko told Nick Ferrari at breakfast there were "no talks" taking place between the two countries about the plans, which were confirmed by Dominic Raab on LBC yesterday.

"I can say it's absolutely fake news because as my prime minister stated yesterday, the foreign minister also tweeted yesterday, that doesn't exist, any negotiations between Albania and UK regarding these processing centres," he said.

Nick clarified: "There's been no talks whatsoever, Mr Amassador?"

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"Zero talks between Albania and UK regarding this issue," confirmed Mr Qirko.

Nick then asked if there ever would be a "set of circumstances" that could change his mind.

"It will not be changed because my prime minister was crystal clear yesterday when he said Albania will never be a processing centre for illegal immigrants," he said.

But when asked what the situation was with migrants going directly to Albania, he said it was "always an open door for people who are in need".

The Secretary of State for Justice and Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, told LBC yesterday that the Government was looking into the possibility of sending migrants arriving on Britain's shores to foreign countries for processing.

Mr Raab told Nick that the idea behind the plans was to reduce the "pull factor" of the UK to reduce the "flow" of migrants crossing the channel from France, and said he made "no apology" for the plans.

"The extent that we get this flow over to the UK, we need to reduce the pull factor and we will work with all of our partners - so it's not just one country, we've looked at the Australian experience, we've been talking with the Danes about this who have been looking the same way," he said.

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"And we want to make sure that the processing - if it's possible, and that will depend on the goodwill and the cooperation with partners - can be done elsewhere.

"And we make no apology for at least trying to look at that."

However he added he wanted to "avoid talking about individual countries" after reports said Albania was a key target for the Government.