Illegal immigration and the war in Ukraine were the focus of a meeting held on Thursday between Minister of Interior Nicos Nouris and Chairman of the Czech Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs, Ondřej Benešík, who was heading a delegation of Czech MPs and members of the Committee.
"This has happened in the Czech Republic in the past," he said, adding that "what is unthinkable to us is that you have been experiencing this for the last decades." -Benešík
In statements after the meeting, the Czech official said that immigration will be one of the main issues during the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU next semester, while the main topic will be the crisis in Ukraine. He added that the problem of illegal immigration in Cyprus should also be examined, He noted that his country shares very similar views on this issue and expressed the belief that it will be an area of future cooperation between the two countries.
According to an official press release, the Minister of Interior said that they discussed the crisis in Ukraine as well as the problem of illegal immigration, expressing satisfaction with the delegation's understanding of the problems faced by Cyprus due to the Turkish occupation. He continued by saying that there has been an agreement to further discuss the issue at the EU level.
Referring to migration flows in Cyprus, Nouris said that following the visits the Czech delegation made in various areas of concern it has become clear to them that Cyprus needs support to deal with this enormous burden.
Benešík talked about the Czech delegation's visit to the buffer zone, dividing the government-controlled areas of Cyprus from the Turkish-occupied areas, saying that he was moved by the fact that people were forced to abandon their homes and not being able to return.
"This has happened in the Czech Republic in the past," he said, adding that "what is unthinkable to us is that you have been experiencing this for the last decades."
The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, has been divided since the Turkish invasion in 1974. Turkish troops still occupy 37% of the island's territory.