MP Abu Meri: We can't build a wall around Latvia

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We cannot build a great wall around Latvia and live in isolation, said MP Hosams Abu Meri (Unity) in an interview on Latvian Television program Rīta Panorāma Wednesday, referring to the controversial matter of accepting 250 refugees from war-torn Africa.

Hosams Abu Meri is a doctor and politician who moved to Latvia in 1993 and has naturalized as a Latvian citizen. 

He said that Latvia definitely has to admit refugees, but not as many as the UK, Germany and Sweden have to. "We cannot build a great wall around Latvia and live in isolation. We are a part of the EU," said the MP.

Abu Meri said he's perplexed about the matter being as highly politicized as it is now and the way society is scared that a massive wave of immigration will flow into Latvia, as the number of refugees will only be 250.

He also denied that refugees coming from Africa would seek material gain from moving here.

"What's the social good to be found here?" asked Abu Meri rhetorically, saying that Latvia is more of a transit country for the refugees. 

The MP also thinks that foreigners can be integrated within the society, if "an adequate integration policy exists". The current policy has, sadly, been ineffective, said Abu Meri.

He noted that the Arab organization he represents has 100 Arab members who all speak Latvian, "in contrast with few percent of the population that speak only Russian." 

At the same time, he noted that it'll be very difficult to strike a deal with the National Alliance, a coalition party that's strongly opposed to admitting refugees from Africa and will hold a protest on August 4th. President Raimonds Vējonis, on the other hand, thinks that politicians ought to show solidarity in this matter.

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