Cyprus Mail

Interior minister backs use of physical barriers along green line

screengrab from alpha news report
Barbed wire along some of the buffer zone

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Monday that the management of the Green Line, even though it does not constitute an external border of the EU, is considered necessary to limit the migration problem and prevent the flow of illegal immigrants into Cyprus.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Nouris said that this can be done by placing physical barriers, stressing that arguments that the creation of a fence promotes partition are a joke.

Starting in March 2021, the government moved to erect a barbed wire fence along the buffer zone near Astromeritis, Peristerona and Akaki, with the plan being to cover about 11km to the defunct Nicosia airport.

However, the fence was widely criticised, not just by opposition parties, but also by farmers in the area whose fields in the buffer zone were difficult to access once the barbed wire was put in place.

According to the government, around three-quarters of all migrants arrive through the dividing line.

Nouris clarified that, with the signing of a joint communiqué at the European Border Management Conference held in Lithuania last week, the Cypriot government “can take whatever actions it wishes to address the migration problem without any political challenge, at least at a European level.

“Financing the installation of physical barriers is not a problem. What Cyprus is demanding, is for the EU to take initiatives towards Turkey, so that our issues are recognised as in the rest of the European countries as we figure out ways on how to manage the migration problem,” he concluded.

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