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More immigrants arrive in Cyprus as EU promises support to ease refugee influx problem

Staff Writer |
A boatload of immigrants arrived in Cyprus just a day after Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told EU leaders that the eastern Mediterranean island has reached its limits in tackling the pressure from refugee influx, a statement said on Thursday.

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A police communique said they intercepted a boat with 65 people on board, 23 men, 18 women, two of whom are pregnant and 24 children, and led it into a fishing port next to a popular tourist resort on the southeastern coast of Cyprus.

The pregnant women were taken to hospital as a precaution and the other passengers were interviewed at a police station to establish their identities as most of them did not carry any documents.

Their arrival highlighted an appeal by President Anastasiades on Wednesday night to EU leaders holding an informal summit in Salzburg, Austria, for more solidarity by other EU members in sharing the burden of refugee arrivals.

Anastasiades told them that asylum applications in the first eight months exceed 4,500, marking an increase of 55 percent over 2017, when arrivals also increased by 56 percent over the previous year.

An official statement issued in Nicosia said on Thursday that EU leaders promised support to Cyprus to manage the refugee influx problem, though no specific measures were listed.

"The President expects the practical and general measures that the (European) Commission and the European Council intend to provide to Cyprus in order to address this issue in the most effective way", the statement said.

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