Cyprus Mail

Buffer-zone fence not ‘a border’ interior ministry says

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Barbed wire along the buffer zone

The placing of a razor wire fence along a segment of the buffer zone is not, nor can it be construed as, erecting a border, the interior ministry said Thursday hitting back at criticism from the main opposition party.

In a statement, the ministry said the government would refrain from following Akel in “games aimed at ephemeral petty political gains.”

It reiterated that the installing of a fence constitutes a measure to stop illegal migration, recalling that the Republic of Cyprus has an obligation under the Green Line Regulation to control people’s ingress into the Republic and to stamp out the smuggling of goods.

The ministry also said that, prior to installing the razor wire, it had briefed the representative of the European Union in Cyprus and the United Nations, to whom a map was submitted.

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris additionally briefed European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson during a video conference earlier this week.

“Once more we stress that the fence is not a border, nor does it reinforce the occupation. The occupation is not defined by the placement of a fence, but by the 40,000 Turkish troops deployed along the ceasefire line.”

The ministry said that similar hyperbolic reactions had manifested last year after the closure of the crossing points to the north due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government is currently erecting a razor wire fence along the buffer zone near Astromeritis, Peristerona and Akaki, with the plan being to cover about 11km to the defunct Nicosia airport.

But other than opposition parties, the wire has also upset famers in the area who have fields in the buffer zone because it has made it difficult to access them.

According to the government, around three-quarters of migrant flows come through the dividing line.

Meanwhile in a twist, a crew from the Alpha News channel tested the effectiveness of the razor wire, finding that it does next to nothing as a barrier.

All the crew had to do was to take a piece of wood and press it down on the wire, and they were able to step inside the buffer zone.

“It took us all of 20 seconds,” the media outlet reported.

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