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24 June, 2024
 
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Interior Minister highlights 75% reduction in African arrivals

Costantinos Ioannou advocates legal migration channels in meetings with Nigerian and Lebanese counterparts

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In bilateral meetings held in Geneva, Interior Minister Konstantinos Ioannou emphasized the shift from illegal to legal migration channels, as stated in a press release by the Interior Ministry on Friday. Ioannou met with Nigeria's Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Eradication, Dr. Betta Chimaobim Edu, and Lebanon's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Migrants, Abdallah Bou Habib. Figures presented by Ioannou indicated a 75% reduction in African arrivals compared to 2022 due to an information campaign in Sub-Saharan African countries and other measures.

Discussions focused on the proposal to institutionalize a process, with the International Organisation for Migration's contribution, to find labor from third countries, aiming to create legal migration routes and curb illegal migrant flows. Ioannou highlighted the potential for better integration of third-country nationals into national labor markets, enhancing migrants' smooth integration into the economy and society based on each country's actual needs.

Ioannou extensively presented the information campaign's aspects to the Nigerian Minister, aiming to inform potential migrants about the realities in Cyprus. The campaign, coupled with other measures, resulted in a 75% reduction in African arrivals compared to 2022. Dr. Edu briefed Ioannou on Nigeria's new population containment program, aiming to make citizens aware of employment prospects within the country. Both ministers agreed to share campaign materials for use in Nigeria's nationwide information program.

Ioannou's meeting with the Lebanese Minister of Interior and Migration addressed developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Considering the rise in sea arrivals and the significant number of vessels from the Lebanese coast, Ioannou stressed the urgent need for Lebanon to strengthen controls. Both ministers expressed gratitude for Cyprus's initiative to support Lebanon at the European level. They called for a review of the EU's stance towards the Syrian regime, considering recent commitments to the UNHCR for the restoration of security on Syrian territory and the promotion of investments in Syria for reconstruction and development.

Ioannou, after meetings with the International Organization for Migration and UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, is set to return to Cyprus on Friday.

[Source: Announcements]

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