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12° Nicosia,
21 July, 2024
 
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Cyprus expands diplomatic footprint, bolsters migration management efforts

President Christodoulides leads initiatives to strengthen foreign relations and enhance border security

Newsroom

President Nicos Christodoulides, leading the Council of Ministers at the Presidential Palace, announced significant developments in Cyprus' foreign policy and measures taken to address migration challenges.

Diplomatic Expansion in Central Asia

Following the Council's meeting, Government Spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis emphasized Cyprus' commitment to the Central Asian region as a key aspect of its foreign policy. Recognizing the economic resurgence of Cyprus, the Council decided to establish a Diplomatic Mission in Kazakhstan. Letymbiotis highlighted the importance of strengthening Cyprus' presence in Central Asia, considering its desire to play a substantial role in regional events affecting the country directly or indirectly.

Strategic Meeting on Migration Management

President Christodoulides chaired a meeting focused on enhancing the effective management of migration. Attended by key ministers and officials, the gathering acknowledged significant improvements in the situation while deliberating additional measures to further enhance progress.

Key measures taken and implemented include:

  • Establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Immigration through legislation submitted to the House of Representatives.
  • Reduction of application processing time to 1 to 3 months.
  • Strengthening the Returns Office and increasing staff.
  • Amendments to Minimum Guaranteed Income and Social Benefits Laws.
  • Information campaigns in countries of origin, contributing to a significant reduction in arrivals.
  • Increased waiting period for asylum seekers' right to work.
  • Infrastructure upgrades at Pournara for improved control and security.
  • Integration of the Asylum Service's Computerized System with the Ministry of Labour's system.
  • Intensified Police operations and maritime border surveillance.
  • Acceleration of fostering procedures for unaccompanied minors.

These measures have yielded positive results, with a notable decrease in asylum applications and a substantial increase in returns and deportations. Returns for the period from January to December 2023 reached 9,324, showcasing an 80% increase compared to the same period last year.

Future Actions and Initiatives

In addition to the implemented measures, the Council outlined future actions:

  • Promotion of European-level discussions on reviewing the status of Syria.
  • Strengthening penalties for offenses related to the trafficking of irregular migrants.
  • Collaborating with Interpol to enhance cooperation and information exchange.
  • Establishing a special unit within the Cyprus Police to combat illegal immigrant trafficking rings.
  • Introducing prepaid cards for benefit distribution to asylum seekers.
  • Expediting Dublin Regulation procedures for family reunification in other European countries.

President Christodoulides reiterated that managing increased migration flows remains a top priority, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to address the issue effectively. The administration is committed to tackling the challenges posed by migration through continued cooperation and proactive measures.

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