The Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, called on the bloc to reconsider the status of Syria as an unsafe country to which refugees cannot be returned after the influx of large numbers of asylum seekers there by sea, most of them Syrians.
Cyprus Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou expressed his country’s intention to persuade the European Union and the United Nations to change this situation.
Constantinos Ioannou was speaking to reporters, when he pointed out the importance of re-evaluating the situation in Syria, as the Union’s role has remained unchanged for 11 years, but there are safe areas in the country that must be recognized.
He pointed out that there are certain areas that have already been recognized by the European Union Asylum Agency as safe areas, and this requires recognition at the European Union level to enable the resettlement or return of refugees to those areas.
Ioannou also touched on the pressures facing Lebanon due to the increasing numbers of Syrians arriving there, and stressed the importance of avoiding the collapse of Lebanon, as this could have a negative impact on the entire Europe.
Regarding Cyprus, Ioannou confirmed that the government is working to reduce financial allocations to asylum seekers with the aim of making it an unattractive destination.
This step comes after a recent wave of racist attacks against foreigners in Cyprus, amid escalating anti-immigrant sentiment in the country.