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First group of migrants pope promised to resettle leave for Italy

Some of the 50 offered the pope's protection leaving Larnaca airport on Thursday

Twelve migrants out of the 50 selected to settle in Italy under the protection of Pope Francis departed on Thursday morning, the interior ministry said.

The ministry thanked the pope for the symbolic gesture, hoping it would act as a springboard for other member states to display substantive solidarity towards the Republic of Cyprus.

Among the 50 who will be resettled in Italy 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.

“This symbolic gesture by the Pontifex constitutes recognition of the difficulties Cyprus faces with the constantly rising flow of migrants who cross the Green Line unlawfully, coming from Turkey,” the interior ministry said.

The pope offered to settle 50 migrants ahead of his visit to Cyprus on December 2.


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