The Republic will not accept migrants currently in the buffer zone, immigration deputy minister Nicholas Ioannides said on Tuesday.

Speaking after a visit to the Pournara migrant reception centre, Ioannides said the government’s aim was to prevent the buffer zone from becoming a “passage for migrants”.

Ioannides said the migrants in the buffer zone are “an issue we are handling with the interior ministry and the justice ministry.”

“Our position is clear. We will not accept these people. We do not want the green line to become a passage for migrants,” he pointed out.

What has been happening over the past years has created huge problems, so we want to restrict it,” he said.

“We are making sure that they have what they need on a daily basis until this issue is solved,” he added.

Ioannides pointed out that the “ideal solution” would be to find a way for them “to return to Turkey, from where they came, or relocate to another country.”

The 31 migrants in question have been stuck in two places in the buffer zone for over a month.