Asylum seekers make up 5 pct of Cyprus' population, says government-Xinhua

Asylum seekers make up 5 pct of Cyprus' population, says government

Source: Xinhua| 2022-04-20 03:49:15|Editor: huaxia

NICOSIA, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Asylum seekers make up five percent of Cyprus' population, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said on Tuesday.

Pelekanos was speaking after an emergency meeting of government officials, at which a series of measures to alleviate the immigration crisis were decided, including seeking help from the European Union (EU) to repatriate people arriving illegally in the country.

Pelekanos said the concentration of asylum seekers in Cyprus is the highest among the EU countries, adding that in all other EU countries it is below one percent.

Frontex, the EU's border agency, said in a report that illegal crossings into Cyprus during the first three months of this year rose to 5,100, at a time when illegal arrivals through the Eastern Mediterranean route in all other EU countries were only 1,905.

Measures decided by the government include the installation of a razor-wire fence across stretches of the buffer zone and of a system of surveillance cameras, along with the setting up of a special police force tasked to keep a constant watch on the buffer zone. The buffer zone divides the island's Greek and Turkish communities.

Pelekanos also said that Cyprus will also continue its efforts to get the EU involved in the process of returning illegal immigrants who come from countries that are not faced with internal strife.