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Accepting Afghan Refugees Was 'Moral Obligation,' Says North Macedonia President

North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski
North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski

North Macedonia had a "moral obligation" to take in Afghan refugees who fled the Taliban after the militants seized power in a blitz offensive last month, President Stevo Pendarovski has told the United Nations General Assembly.

North Macedonia has agreed to temporarily host at least 750 Afghans who worked with U.S.-led international forces, as well as students, journalists, and employees of nongovernmental organizations.

"Guided by the sense of moral obligation, as well as solidarity, my country, North Macedonia, immediately announced its readiness to host a considerable number of Afghan refugees, particularly the most vulnerable categories and the people who have worked for United Nations agencies in that country for many years," Pendarovski told the General Assembly in his address on September 23.

The first group of 149 Afghan men, women, and children arrived in North Macedonia late last month and Pendarovski said the refugees have been offered conditions for "a dignified life."

Pendarovski also said the birth of an Afghan child immediately upon the arrival of the first group of refugees in North Macedonia had a symbolic meaning for those who sought shelter in his country.

"A baby was born in the local hospital immediately after the first plane with Afghan refugees landed at the Skopje airport, a symbolic sparkle of hope and a proof that life, indeed, prevails!" Pendarovski said.

With reporting by AP