Cyprus, Nicosia

The President of Cyprus has appealed to the head of the EU Commission over the migrant crisis

03.04.2024 / 18:40

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, has appealed to the head of the EU Commission to intervene in the situation concerning the high influx of illegal migrants into the country. Since Sunday, 13 boats carrying 739 illegal migrants have arrived on the island. The total number of migrants who have arrived since the beginning of the year has reached 2,448.

It should be noted that additional boats with 263 illegal migrants were spotted off the coast of Cyprus yesterday. This incident prompted the reinforcement of a "crisis" mode regarding migration.

"The influx of boats departing from Lebanon, mostly carrying Syrian men seeking asylum, signifies an immigration crisis in Cyprus," Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou told the state broadcaster CyBC.

Earlier, the same statement was made by the head of the state. On Tuesday evening, Nikos Christodoulides reported that he had a phone conversation with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and asked for her personal intervention.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus noted that the EU provides significant financial assistance to Lebanon, both for the country itself and for the reception of Syrian migrants.

"I asked the President of the European Commission to personally contact the Lebanese authorities," said the Minister.

He also added that some EU members are ready to provide additional financial assistance to Lebanon, but for this, the Lebanese authorities should not allow migrants to leave their shores and come to Cyprus.

The Cypriot leader added that the island is "in a state of crisis," which may lead to "some decisions within the country that will be unpleasant but beneficial in the long run."

It is worth noting that due to the sharply increased flow of illegal migrants, the National Security Council of the Republic of Cyprus convened for an emergency meeting yesterday.

After the emergency meeting of the National Migration Council, a government spokesman stated that the conditions for international protection of Syrian citizens are "well known."

Constantinos Ioannou reminded that according to the existing protocol, any Syrian arriving in Cyprus should automatically receive refugee status.

"We are a small island, and despite our sincerest intentions to help, we have limited human resources," emphasized the minister, adding that increased funding from the EU will not solve Cyprus' migration problem.