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Cyprus condemns attack against Kuwaiti tourists

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Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos on Wednesday met the Kuwaiti ambassador to condemn the attack on tourists from his country during an anti-migrant rally in the island’s second city, Limassol.

He met Kuwait Ambassador Abdullah Al-Kharafi after the Gulf nation had protested to Nicosia over Kuwaiti tourists being attacked during racist-motivated violence in Limassol on Friday.

Kombos posted on the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs X Platform, formerly Twitter, that the two diplomats had a “warm and comprehensive meeting, reaffirming the excellent level of the bilateral relations”.

The ministry said: “FM Kombos took the opportunity to condemn the recent deplorable incident against tourists. The Minister relayed his wish to visit Kuwait very soon”.

There was no mention of whether there was a formal apology to Kuwait over the incident.

On Sunday, Cyprus said it received a diplomatic protest from an unnamed Arab Gulf state.

Wednesday’s post confirmed that the country was Kuwait and Nicosia was trying to repair any damage to its ties with the Gulf state.

Senior diplomat Kyriakos Kouros posted on the X platform Sunday that a group of tourists left Cyprus soon after being attacked.

“They cut short the holidays to leave in a hurry, scared! I doubt they will ever come back.”

Kouros, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted a photograph on X of a group at the airport. One sat in a wheelchair and had a bandaged forearm. Another was dressed in a suit.

Police said they arrested 13 people after protesters Friday evening injured five foreigners and smashed some foreign-owned shops on the Limassol seafront.

During the unrest, trash bins were also set alight, and some black-hooded protesters held a banner that read, “Refugees not welcome.”

Kouros said that in his time as a veteran diplomat, he never felt so “embarrassed” about an incident in Cyprus.

“We should not have allowed it to develop into something so hideous,” he said.

Authorities said a Vietnamese mother whose shop was vandalised on Friday will receive state support to repair her property. A post on social media had shown her in tears after the attack.

Anti-migrant sentiment has grown in recent years as the government highlighted its struggles against irregular migration.

European Union member Cyprus says it is a “front-line country” on the Mediterranean migrant route, struggling to cope with an influx of undocumented migrants and refugees.

The latest EU data shows Cyprus has the highest number of first-time asylum applications relative to population in the 27-member bloc.

With almost four million annual visitors, tourism is a key economic driver, contributing around 15% of GDP to the Cypriot economy.