Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou has rubbished an alleged proposal by far-right Elam to give passports to migrants so they would leave the country.

Elam has denied saying any such thing, and definitely not recently, and accused the political sphere of misrepresenting its views.

Political parties on Thursday condemned the party for the alleged suggestion, calling it “dangerous”.

Ioannou responded, also calling it dangerous and unrealistic, according to Phileleftheros.

“If such a proposal was implemented, Cyprus would become an attractive destination for immigration,” he said, adding that if Elam had done a little homework, it would have seen that.

The minister explained that someone entitled to asylum receives a travel document or “laissez-passer” based on EU legislation for those who receive supplementary protection.

“With this document, holders would have to apply for and receive a visa in the country they want to travel to, which is only valid for three months,” he said.

“After the three months they must return to the country that has issued them the travel document, to whom the obligation to host them remains. So it is not true that they will leave [for good].”

Ioannou added that those who are not approved for political asylum are not entitled to this travel document and are deported.

“Only those who are Cypriot citizens receive passports of the Republic of Cyprus. Imagine if we gave passports to everyone. Cyprus would become a centre of attraction for immigrants to get passports without any obligation. And who can guarantee that by getting a passport, they will leave for another country?he asked.

Both Disy and Diko had reacted on Thursday saying Elam’s “brilliant idea” was naïve and dangerous and would have the exact opposite results. “Enough with the populism and cheap proposals,” Disy said in a statement.

Diko welcomed Ioannou’s response, saying the emphasis should be on deportations and detention agreements.

“Any implementation of Elam’s proposal would make Cyprus the most attractive immigration destination in Europe, perhaps even in world and we will be flooded,” the party said.

Elam however questioned why the issue was suddenly raised saying it referred back to a random comment from the period of the last general election “which no one commented on at the time”, and it was related to travel documents and not passports, it added.

“We are glad that some have reached so far back in time to study us,” the party said.

“The recommendation… was to grant temporary travel documents on the condition that those who would be granted a travel document immediately leave our shores,” it added.

“It was not about passports of the Republic of Cyprus, as some are deliberately presenting today, distorting the truth.”

“As for the minister of the interior, we call on him to put aside the pre-election campaign and deal with the serious problem of illegal immigration,” it concluded.