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Migration tops agenda for Lebanon visit

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President Nikos Christodoulides will lead a high level delegation to Lebanon on Monday for a meeting with the country’s leadership with the recent surge in migrant flows to Cyprus being at the top of the agenda.

Christodoulides said on Friday he had already spoken with Prime Minister Najib Mikati. He will be accompanied by the Ministers of Interior, and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Chief of the National Guard and other state officials.

“We are indeed facing a difficult situation, a crisis, but I want to assure you that we will do everything possible. By saying everything possible, I am not excluding anything, so that we can deal with this situation also. And rest assured we will deal with it.”

In unusually direct remarks, President Nikos Christodoulides said after a meeting with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola on Tuesday, “I fully understand the challenges Lebanon is facing, but exporting migrants to Cyprus should not be the answer and cannot be accepted.

As regards support from the European Commission, the president said: “On Sunday I will meet with the President of the European Commission. We are in contact at a technical level.”

This was confirmed by EC spokesperson on migration, Annita Hipper, who said that, “the Commission is in continuous communication at the highest and technocratic level with the Cypriot authorities regarding the increased irregular arrivals of asylum seekers and immigrants, mainly Syrians, from Lebanon.”

The police is doing everything it can to dismantle the migrant ring operating in Cyprus, intensifying its efforts and taking all the necessary measures, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, Marios Hartsiotis, said on Thursday.