Cyprus deploys 21-man to help Greece protect EU borders

Cyprus deployed on Sunday a Security Force to Greece, to assist with the country’s border protection in Evros region, amid migratory pressures from Turkey.

A total of 21 members, 16 from the Emergency Response Unit and 5 from the Aliens and Immigration Unit, wearing their anti-riot uniforms, departed aboard a C-130 military aircraft from Larnaca airport to Alexandroupolis.

Minister of Justice and Public Order, Giorgos Savvides, met the group at the airport before their departure. In statements to the Press, Savvides said that the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, ordered the dispatch of a group of elite members of the Police to Greece, once he heard about current needs in the Greek-Turkish borders.

He added that the group’s deployment was ready in only a few hours’ time and departed to Alexandroupolis, to assist Greece with its border protection, which are also European borders.

The Minister also said that he felt the need to congratulate the members of the Police before their departure for their willingness to take part in the mission, in such short notice, when duty calls.

“I am really proud for the Police and for the chance we were given to help out in this difficult task” Savvides said.

Replying to questions, Savvides said that before the mission, he was in contact with his Greek counterpart, Michalis Chrysochoidis, to discuss the details about the number of men to be dispatched and the duties they would undertake. He said moreover that he informed President Anastasiades and Minister Chrysochoides once the group departed from Larnaca airport. The Greek Minister conveyed Greece’s gratitude to the Republic of Cyprus and the President of Cyprus, in particular, and will inspect the Cypriot police mission on Monday, in Evros.

Savvides said that police members will stay in Greece “for as long as it takes in order to perform their duties.”

In another question, Savvides said that Cyprus is also facing the problem of irregular migration, with the problem becoming more acute in recent days. “The percentage of irregular migrants stands at 3.8% [of the total population] and we hope that we will get the support we anticipate from all European countries” the Minister concluded.

In a written statement, on Sunday, Government Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios said that the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a long telephone conversation, discussing the latest developments regarding the migrant issue and Turkey’s policy on the issue as well as the situation at the borders of Greece with Turkey and the growing influx of migrants to Cyprus.

The Spokesman also said that President Anastasiades informed the Greek Prime Minister that Cyprus is ready to deploy a force to Greece, consisting of members of the Security Forces “to protect Greece`s borders, which are also Europe`s borders”, a proposal which was welcomed by the Greek Premier.

Source: Cyprus News Agency