Interior Minister Nicos Nouris is travelling to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday amid efforts to boost Cyprus’ cooperation with third countries, particularly as regards managing the migration issue.

Cyprus, the EU member states with the highest number of asylum seekers per capita, has been struggling to cope with migratory flows.

It has focused efforts to address the problem on better monitoring of the buffer zone from where about 70 per cent of irregular migrants enter the Republic and boosting returns of illegal migrants and applicants whose asylum bid has been rejected with the help of the EU’s border and coast guard agency, Frontex.

In Beirut, Nouris will meet Lebanon’s Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to review cooperation so far between the two countries as regards a bilateral agreement for returns and discuss ways to further boost this cooperation.

On Wednesday, Nouris will hold a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef. Talks will also cover the possibility of Saudi contributing to Cyprus’ efforts with third countries in the area regarding boosting returns.

Nouris is due back in Cyprus on Thursday.