Among the 50 migrants that Pope Francis is taking back to Italy with him, are two Cameroonian students stuck in the buffer zone for the past six months as neither the Turkish Cypriots, nor the Republic would take them in.
Ten of 50 are migrants held in prison for residing in the Republic without permits.
The interior ministry thanked the Pope for his initiative to relocate 50 migrants to Italy.
“Among them are the two individuals who remained in the buffer zone until today, whom the Republic had been asking the European Commission to relocate to another member state to avoid additional undesirable political problems for our country,” the ministry said.
According to the ministry, the Vatican’s symbolic gesture was recognition of the difficulties faced by Cyprus by the rising flow of migrants that “come through the occupied areas from Turkey.”
“This is the substantive solidarity we seek from our European partners,” the ministry said.
Pope Francis also met prison governor Anna Aristotelous on Friday morning who expressed her admiration for his work and sensitivity and support he showed poor people.
Aristotelous thanked the Pope for relocating 10 irregular migrants and handed him a handmade violin the prisoners had made for him.