Cyprus is trying to reach agreements for the return of migrants, said the Minister of the Interior, Nicos Nouris, after his meeting with the President of DISY and candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, Averof Neofytou, on Monday, at the party's headquarters in Nicosia. The topic discussed at the meeting was Neofytou's recent trip to Congo in order to discuss the return of immigrants who have come to Cyprus.
Initially, the Minister of the Interior spoke of the Government's "continuous and uninterrupted efforts" to manage the immigration issue, adding that "any initiative that is supportive in the direction of our own efforts is welcome". He also thanked the President of DISY for the information and for the initiatives he undertook.
The Return Office of the Ministry of the Interior has managed in the first seven months of 2022 to arrange 4,000 returns to various countries, which puts Cyprus in first place in returns...
In addition, Nouris stated that Turkey has been instrumentalizing immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa ‘’for months’’. Today, he emphasized, Congolese nationals, within a very short period of time, rank first among the nationalities to arrive in the Republic of Cyprus, since around 4,500 Congolese reside in our country, whose applications have either been rejected or are in the process of rejection. Despite this, there is no agreement between the Republic of Cyprus and the Democratic Republic of Congo, noted Nouris, adding that the two returns of migrants to Congo were made after an agreement that had been reached between the Interior Ministers of Cyprus and Belgium.
"Therefore, it is imperative in the framework of this huge effort that we are making for returns so that agreements can be reached," the Interior Minister indicated, adding that discussions have been held with Congo for months in an effort to reach an agreement. He went on to say that similar efforts are being made in the direction of Pakistan and Vietnam, stressing that the specific initiatives are more advanced. The purpose of these initiatives, Nouris explained, is to limit arrivals and maximize returns so that those in need are managed in the best possible way.
He also thanked the European Union for supporting the effort of Cyprus through the memoranda that have been signed and through FRONTEX. The Return Office of the Ministry of the Interior, he added, has managed in the first seven months of 2022 to arrange 4,000 returns to various countries, which puts Cyprus in first place among returns in proportion to population among EU member countries.
The Minister of the Interior explained that he wants to send a message to the countries from which many immigrants come that Cyprus is not an "immigrant's paradise." For this reason, he added, two weeks ago all the Ambassadors of the Republic of Cyprus in various countries were informed and an initiative has been taken in cooperation with the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs in Cyprus to carry out information campaigns in these countries, so that those who choose Cyprus as their next stop know the reality.
Answering a question, Nouris expressed his satisfaction with the assistance provided by the EU to Cyprus, which is not only financial but also includes other initiatives. Some are already known, while others cannot be disclosed, he noted. "However, there is still a long way to go," he stressed. He also referred to the request of frontline countries such as Cyprus that there should be at least some mandatory relocations to European countries. "That's where the difficulties begin, there are problems, let's be realistic. This is what we are trying to resolve through the discussions in the various councils of the Interior Ministers", he concluded.