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20 April, 2024
 
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Cyprus President urges EU action amid migration crisis

President Christodoulides calls for measures to stem flow of irregular migrants from Lebanon

Newsroom

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides emphasized Tuesday the urgency of the migration crisis, seeking intervention from the European Commission to stem the flow of irregular Syrian migrants from Lebanon.

Christodoulides conveyed his concerns after a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, highlighting the EU's significant financial aid to Lebanon for hosting Syrian migrants. He urged von der Leyen to engage directly with Lebanese authorities to address the issue.

"We cannot have this kind of phenomenon," Christodoulides said. "Lebanon must not allow migrants to leave for Cyprus."

The president's remarks came during an event in Larnaca, where he underscored the gravity of the migration challenge. He noted Cyprus' efforts to manage the crisis internally but stressed the need for external cooperation.

"A great deal of work has been done internally," Christodoulides stated, referring to measures to control illegal migration. "But the problem lies externally with these behaviors."

Acknowledging the potential for unpopular decisions, Christodoulides indicated that temporary measures might be necessary to tackle the crisis effectively.

"We are in a crisis," he asserted. "Some decisions may not be pleasant, but they will be beneficial in the long term."

Regarding potential decisions, Christodoulides emphasized preparedness and proactive measures, hoping they would not be needed but signaling readiness if required.

Christodoulides also highlighted the responsibility of the Lebanese government, stressing that Lebanon's cooperation was essential in addressing the migration challenge.

The president's remarks followed reports of additional boats carrying irregular migrants toward Cyprus, prompting concerns about the escalating crisis.

In response to questions about a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis, Christodoulides emphasized shared goals with Greece regarding the resumption of talks.

Regarding recent Israeli attacks against humanitarian workers in Gaza, Christodoulides condemned the violence and expressed ongoing efforts to address humanitarian needs in the region.

Asked about provocative statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, Christodoulides refrained from public comment, emphasizing the importance of diplomatic engagement in resolving the Cyprus problem.

Christodoulides concluded by expressing hope for progress and readiness to engage with developments as they unfold.

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