The island’s Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said reactions over the placement of barbed wire along the Green Line to stop the flow of irregular migrants into the government-controlled areas from the north are excessive.

Government plans to combat illegal entries with an 11km razor wire barrier that is being erected along the buffer zone and would stretch from Astromeritis to the old Nicosia airport.

He pointed out that, in light of the 3,500 people sent back in the first half of 2022, Cyprus ranks first among the EU27, in proportion to population, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (Cybc) reported.

Nouris added that the government listens to the concerns of the communities in the region, and explained that the buffer zone is not occupied land, but was ceded by the Republic of Cyprus to the United Nations for the management of the Green Line.

He also stressed that residents and those who are professionally active in the area will have free access, through gates, for as many times as they need to cross the fence.