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19 June, 2024
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Interior Minister says barbed wire plan 'impractical and politically risky'

Constantinos Ioannou claims asylum seeker numbers down by half


In a recent statement, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou deemed the idea of placing barbed wire along the Green Line to handle migrant flows as practically impossible and politically dangerous. Speaking to "SPOR 95.0" and the program "DIASPORA NEWS," Ioannou discussed the considerations for removing the barbed wire and emphasized that it would need to extend along the entire 184 kilometers of the Green Line, which would essentially recognize the division of the country and establish a border. He mentioned that the measure will be re-evaluated in September to determine whether it should be removed, and the decision to refrain from extending it in the first phase received positive feedback from Brussels partners and technocrats.

Regarding migrant arrivals and returns to Cyprus, Ioannou noted that despite increased maritime flows, there has been a significant decrease in asylum seekers compared to last year. From March to July last year, there were 10,625 arrivals, while this year during the same period, there were only 4,960. Additionally, there were twice as many returns this year as compared to the previous year. In the March to July 2023 period, there were 2,223 returns, while this year, there were 4,462. Moreover, more people have left the country (3,500) than arrived (3,200) in the last four months.

Regarding the upcoming local government elections, the Minister acknowledged that there might be problems and an adjustment period due to changes taking place. The authorities aim to promptly address any difficulties that arise during this transition.

About the BuildingZO project, Ioannou highlighted that minor issues are being continuously addressed, and the Ministry is providing support to those affected to resolve them. He expressed satisfaction with the growing acceptance of the project, mentioning that applications for participation have been increasing over the weeks, with over 85 applications submitted in recent days.

Cyprus  |  diplomacy  |  refugees  |  crossings

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