Cyprus hoping to seal migrant returns

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Cyprus is trying to reach agreements for the return of migrants, especially from the Congo, said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.

He discussed the return of migrants with DISY leader and presidential candidate Averof Neofytou who recently visited the Congo.

Nouris blamed Turkey for instrumentalising migrants from sub-Saharan Africa “for months”.

He said Congolese nationals, within a very short space of time, rank first among the nationalities to arrive in Cyprus.

Around 4,500 Congolese have had their applications 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.

He said two returns of migrants to Congo were made after an agreement reached between the Interior Ministers of Cyprus and Belgium.

“Therefore, it is imperative in the framework of this huge effort for returns that agreements can be reached.”

The Interior Minister said discussions had been held with Congo for months to reach an agreement.

Similar efforts are being made with Pakistan and Vietnam, but these initiatives are more advanced.

“The purpose of these initiatives is to limit arrivals and maximise returns so that those in need are managed in the best possible way.”

His ministry has managed in the first seven months to arrange 4,000 returns to various countries, which puts Cyprus first for returns in proportion to its population.

Cyprus is carrying out an information campaign to deter irregular migration to the country.

Nouris expressed his satisfaction with the assistance provided by the EU.

He also referred to the request of frontline states 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”.