The majority of Syrian refugees who were rescued last week from a fishing boat off Cyprus` southern coast, are entitled to travel to other countries provided that they they get all required visas, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos stated on Wednesday.
Refugees are being hosted temporarily in a designated area, in Kokkinotrimithia, close to the capital, Nicosia. He said that only two people expressed interest to apply for asylum and they are being transferred to the Kofinou Reception Center.
Refugees are “masters of their own destiny” Hasikos said, noting that they will be handed their travel documents.
He added however that in case refugees don`t apply for visas for the countries they intend to travel, they will be sent back to Cyprus. According to the Minister, refugees can stay for another 29 days in Kokkinotrimithia, while those who remain in Cyprus, must apply for the renewal of their residence permit.
Hasikos also noted that the financial burden for the relief of refugees falls on the EU for a period of 29 days.
He referred finally to a group of unaccompanied minors, aged 15-17 years, who will be transferred to a separate location, as provided by international conventions.