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Politics

Mitarachi: Greece and Cyprus Cooperating on Issue of Migration Flows

NICOSIA — "The Cyprus Republic, being like Greece on the front line of the pressure from the East, has recently been facing increased migration flows. In this context, the migration and asylum ministry of Greece and the interior ministry of Cyprus have developed close cooperation on both a political and a technical level," Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi commented on Friday, in statements after his meeting with Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nouris in Nicosia.

This cooperation was focused on finding good solutions and to exchange best practices that will ensure effective management of the borders and create the conditions for a rapid processing of asylum requests and the deportation of those that not entitled to international protection, the minister said.

Mitarachi also highlighted the need for Turkey to comply with the obligations it has undertaken under the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement, on accepting the return of those not entitled to international protection and fighting migrant trafficking networks.

"A essential condition is, also, achieving the necessary solidarity on the part of all European Union member-states, so as to ease the great burden on the countries of first reception, such as Greece and Cyprus," he added.

As the EU was in the process of a difficult negotiation for the new European Migration and Asylum Pact, he said, Greece and Cyprus support a fair and resilient common European system, with an equal sharing of responsibility between member-states.

Both the need for full adherence to the Joint Statement and ensuring EU solidarity were emphasised by the MED5 Mediterranean countries (Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus) during the recent ministerial meeting in Athens, the minister pointed out.

"We committed to continuing with the same determination to joint present our positions and concerns. At the same time, we MED5 underlined the importance of effective protection of our borders, which are also the external borders of the EU," he added.

"Since reinforcing the external dimension and, as a consequence, reduce arrivals are the only guarantee for avoiding secondary flows, they are an essential condition for achieving the forced deportations and avoiding abuse of asylum systems and, eventually, the need to display solidarity," Mitarachi said, expressing his conviction that the stern but fair migration policy follwed by Greece and Cyprus brings tangible benefits for the two countries and the EU as a whole.

 (ANA/ M. Kalogeraki)

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