Cyprus and Lebanon discuss shared strategies in fight against illegal arrivals

Cyprus and Lebanon discuss shared strategies in fight against illegal arrivals

Lebanon and Cyprus vowed to extend joint efforts against illegal migrants on Tuesday during a meeting between Interior Minister Nicos Nouris and head of Lebanon’s General Security agency Major General Abbas Ibrahim.

 

Lebanon and Cyprus vowed to extend joint efforts against illegal migrants on Tuesday during a meeting between Interior Minister Nicos Nouris and head of Lebanon’s General Security agency Major General Abbas Ibrahim.

After a number of migrants from Lebanon who headed to Cyprus were returned the government to invite Ibrahim to discuss further strategies to tackle the ongoing issue.

A blast at the port of Beirut that left hundreds of thousands homeless exacerbated a critical situation in Lebanon which has seen its economy collapse, leading to a surge in people opting to try and start a new life in Cyprus.

But Lebanon also has a high population of refugees to deal with; according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of illegal migrants in Lebanon stood at over one million people as of the end of last year.

The figure does not, however, include refugees who are not officially registered with the UNHCR.

In 2002, Lebanon and Cyprus signed a bilateral agreement to cooperate in combating organised crime, including illegal immigration and human trafficking.

During Tuesday’s meeting it was agreed that the two countries will now cooperate more closely to prevent illegal arrivals and, when needed, they will ask for further help from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.

Lebanese ambassador to Cyprus Claude El Hajal and Cyprus’ police chief Stylianos Papatheodorou also took part in the meeting, during which Nouris further expressed his sympathy to the Lebanese people’s suffering endured after the explosion on August 4 and reaffirmed Cyprus’ support to its neighbouring country.

 

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