Joint action needed to IS provocations, Cyprus to host 274 refugees
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told his counterparts taking part in an international conference for “Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East”, in Paris, on Tuesday, that any reaction to provocations by Daesh (Islamic State) must be comprehensive.
More than 60 delegations, including the UN, the EU and other international organisations took part in the conference co-hosted by France and Jordan.
Addressing the conference, Kasoulides highlighted the need “for a comprehensive reaction to the Daesh provocations.” Referring in particular to the protection of cultural heritage, the Cypriot foreign minister shared Cyprus’ experience in this area.
Daesh’s goal is evident, he said, through the destruction and exploitation of cultural wealth it seeks on the one hand to destroy historic and cultural roots and on the other to ensure funding through the illegal trade of archaeological artefacts.
Kasoulides proposed the creation of a legal framework on the basis of a UN Security Council resolution placing the burden of proof on the legal provenance of an artefact on the buyer and the seller.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commission for Refugees commended the Cypriot authorities for the prompt and successful search and rescue operation on Monday that saved the lives of 115 Palestinian and Syrian refugees fleeing the war in Syria.
Among those rescued were 42 children, some of whom travelling alone without their parents or relatives. Most of the refugees lost their belongings at sea and came ashore without shoes or additional clothing.
On Monday, the UNHCR said that refugees were placed at the tent camp in Kokkinotrimithia, while three families with special needs were taken to the more appropriate reception centre at Kofinou village.
According to UNHCR, “while the authorities are doing their best to meet the immediate basic material needs of the rescued refugees at the Kokkinotrimithia camp, the tent facility does not, and cannot, offer reception conditions in accordance with common EU legislation”.
The UNHCR urged the government
the rescued refugees in the Kofinou Reception Centre where the living conditions are generally better and is operating at less than half capacity.
So far this year, Cyprus received 1,025 asylum applications. This represents 0.2% of total applications filed in the EU, according to the UNHCR.
On the basis of a proposed plan by European Commission President Jean – Claude Juncker for distribution of refugees to EU member states, Cyprus should host a total of 274 refugees.
In his State of the Union address in Strasbourg, on September 9, Juncker is expected to present his plan on how to deal with the refugee crisis, sources said. The Juncker proposal is expected to include the plan for distribution of 120,000 refugees from Greece, Italy and Hungary the three most affected countries to the other EU countries.
The proposal is likely to provide that France and Germany host the majority of refugees, 24,031 and 31,443 respectively, followed by Spain (14,931) and Poland (9,287).
Malta will be asked to host the smallest number of 133 and Estonia to 373.