Cyprus streamlines migrant returns with EU help – CBS17.com

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The European Union and its border agency Frontex have helped Cyprus streamline return procedures for migrants whose asylum claims have been rejected amid growing numbers of arrivals, Cyprus said on Tuesday. the country’s interior minister.

Standard operating procedures for returns have been finalized and will be “continuously tested” during voluntary and forced returns over the coming months to identify and resolve any issues.

Minister Nicos Nouris told reporters after talks with Beate Gminder, who heads the European Commission’s migration management task force, that Cyprus registered 1,335 new asylum applications in January, more than double the same month two years ago.

Nouris said that despite 13,235 new asylum applications lodged last year, the Cypriot authorities managed to examine 16,000, of which almost 13,000 were rejected. He said 85% of those who applied for asylum entered Cyprus from the breakaway north of the ethnically divided island and passed through a UN-monitored buffer zone to lodge their application.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup aimed at union with Greece. Cyprus accuses Turkey of facilitating the flow of migrants to the eastern Mediterranean island nation.

Nouris said most of the migrant arrivals originated from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, arriving in the independent north from Turkey’s Istanbul airport or its southern ports, then crossing the buffer zone to the European side of Istanbul. the island.

Gminder said the EU would offer additional funds to strengthen migrant reception facilities in Cyprus which Nouris said had long exceeded their capacity to accommodate new arrivals.

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Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.

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