Nicosia determined to stop Green Line migrant flows

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A European Commission draft regulation offers hope to Cyprus in trying to halt migrants from the north crossing into the government-controlled areas, said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.

Nouris said Turkey is attempting the “quasi-colonisation of territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus, through the daily, systematic and guided advancement of thousands of irregular migrants via the Green Line”.

He said Greece, Italy, Malta, and Spain are sounding the alarm because the percentage of asylum seekers in their countries reached 1% of the population, while Cyprus has reached 6%.

The minister argued that Turkey encouraging migrants to cross the Green Line was “another illegal, aimed at the demographic alteration and alienation of our country…seeking to cause economic, social and political problems”.

Nouris said the government would not hesitate to support those who need help; however, “these people are not refugees but economic migrants who are named students by the illegal regime before being pushed to the government-controlled areas”.

He described as a “ray of optimism” the recent draft Regulation of the European Commission that officially recognises, for the first time, the right to prevent irregular migrants from entering the Republic through the Green Line, clarifying it is not the external border.

“Having no other choice, we are going ahead with measures to halt access from the Green Line because the government cannot remain complacent in the face of these threats.

“We denounce actions that contravene international law and Security Council resolutions,” he said.

Nouris has underlined Brussels, Turkey’s role in the trafficking of irregular immigrants proposing that aid of €200 mln for the security of Ankara’s external borders should only be given under certain conditions.

In a written statement last week, the minister argued these conditions concern Turkey’s compliance with the EU visa program, the control of illegal departures and transfer passengers from Istanbul to the Turkish-occupied north and the termination of fake student visas.