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23 May, 2024
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Cyprus on alert as 500 migrants intercepted

Coast Guard steps up efforts as authorities brace for developments

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

Authorities in Cyprus are keeping a close eye on the situation after intercepting five boats carrying about 500 migrants from Lebanon. To tackle the influx, Cypriot patrols have been stepped up in the waters bordering Lebanon. They spotted the boats early on using coastal radar and prevented them from entering Cypriot waters. The vessels have been closely monitored by the National Guard and Coast Guard for the past two days. While the fate of the migrants is still uncertain, Cypriot authorities have provided them with essentials like food and blankets.

In Nicosia, government officials are cautious about discussing the issue. Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou emphasized the importance of measures to control migration quotas. He mentioned recent commitments made during the President's visit to Lebanon, promising cooperation to prevent more migrant ships from leaving Lebanese shores. Meanwhile, Cyprus has suspended processing new applications, awaiting results from their actions.

As patrols continue beyond Cyprus' waters, there's ongoing coordination with Lebanese authorities. Talks established during the President's visit suggest collaboration. Government sources hint at potential announcements regarding recent decisions. Minister Ioannou mentioned a contingency plan, dubbed "plan B," which will be revealed as necessary.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for brevity and clarity]

Cyprus  |  Lebanon  |  migration  |  asylum

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