Cyprus calls for int'l assistance to deal with "migration crisis"

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NICOSIA, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus called for international assistance on Friday to deal with what it called the "migration crisis" in an official statement issued on Friday.

The statement was jointly prepared by Cyprus' Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides and Interior Minister Nicos Nouris.

According to the statement, the number of asylum applicants and beneficiaries of international protection equaled four percent of Cyprus' population, a particularly high percentage given that in all other European Union (EU) member states, the respective figure is close to one percent.

The issue was examined in depth at a meeting of experts on Thursday, which was convened to consider the island's position within the framework of the discussions on the new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum.

The statement said that the two ministers agreed on joint action "both at the political and technocratic level, in Brussels and other international fora, to present the extent of the migration crisis faced by Cyprus and to ensure that the Republic of Cyprus receives the assistance required to effectively address it."

The statement called for urgent action by "the European Commission and international organizations ... to assist in finding immediate practical solutions to prevent illegal flows but also to ensure legal returns" of refugees and undocumented immigrants. Enditem

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