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Cyprus and Lebanon establish group to combat illegal migration

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou traveled to Lebanon to meet the country's political leadership to find solutions to the maritime migration flows originating from the Eastern Mediterranean
Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou traveled to Lebanon to meet the country's political leadership to find solutions to the maritime migration flows originating from the Eastern Mediterranean

Cyprus and Lebanon have set up a working group to better coordinate, share information and take measures to reduce illegal migration flows across the Eastern Mediterranean.

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou met with a series of high-ranking Lebanese officials, including Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Azmi Mikati, where they discussed the longstanding and positive relationship between the two neighbouring nations.

Ioannou travelled to Lebanon on Wednesday night, with the subsequent announcement on Thursday that a network of contact points will be created to facilitate the exchange of information and closer cooperation in reducing irregular migration flows, including joint patrols.

The interior minister expressed Cyprus’ gratitude for Lebanon’s willingness to enhance cooperation, noting the renewed importance amid the increasing trend of irregular arrivals via sea – particularly over the past two months.

Ioannou emphasised the need to tackle the networks which are shifting tactics that endanger lives at sea.

The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported that Mikati expressed the willingness of the government to contribute to the coordination efforts to prevent irregular arrivals to Cyprus.

Last month, Ioannou said that smugglers facilitating irregular entries into Cyprus are adapting their operations which has in turn prompted the government to alter its approach, setting up a special task force.

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