Decisions within the day on problems faced in ‘Pournara’, Cyprus’ President Anastasiades says

Cyprus` President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday said that decisions would be made within the day to alleviate the problems faced at the ‘Pournara’ reception centre for migrants in Kokkinotrimithia, following a visit at the premises.

After a visit at `Pournara`, during which he spoke with migrants and members of the staff there about the problems faced, the President said that it was imperative to improve the state policies but also the facilities to deal with the issue in an even more humane manner.

He also spoke with representatives of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX), the European Union Agency for Asylum (ΕUAA) and Europol.

The President, who was accompanied by, among others, by Interior Minister, Nicos Nouris, Government Spokesperson Marios Pelekanos, Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Anastasia Anthousi, Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Despo Michaelidou-Livaniou and Commissioner for the Administration Maria Stylianou Lottides, said that efforts were continuous to solve the problems faced in the overcrowded facility but that Cyprus, just like other countries that receive a large number of migrants, have many issues to deal with.

Asked about his first impression of the situation, he referred to “the tragedy” faced by people who have been exploited or are looking for better living conditions than in their homeland. He also referred to the tragedy the country is facing when almost 5% of its population are applicants of political asylum. He said that Cyprus ranks top among EU countries, in terms of population, that receive so many applications.

President Anastasiades said that he has witnessed what is happening at the Pournara facility and that decisions would be made within the day during a meeting at the Presidential Palace on the issue, that would give answers to the many problems faced in Pournara.

Responding to questions about criticism on the way the government is handling the situation, the President said he would not comment on such references, especially when the state is trying to deal with the crisis in the best possible way, with the help of the European Union. He said that it would be best to focus “on how to solve problems, how to deal with the crisis that has arisen as a result of the (migrant) flows, rather than dealing with what everyone says.”

What is required, he added, “is to implement, to improve our policies, to improve our infrastructure so that we are even more humane.”

He also said that both the Interior Minister and the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, were doing an “excellent job” and that any problems due to the facility’s overpopulation, will be dealt with.

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