Ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou said on Monday the migration crisis was evolving at such a pace that decisive action was needed immediately.
He was speaking ahead of a planned meeting on Tuesday to finalise measures to deal with the increasing influx that has come about since Turkey allowed thousands of migrants to amass on the Greek border. Failing to cross into Greece, many have headed for Cyprus, some by boat but scores of others through the north of the island.
The government said last week that between 2015 and 2019, migration flows increased 320 per cent while migrants, refugees and asylum seekers now account for 3.8 per cent of the population, according to their latest figures. The total number of asylum seekers, including the 12,000 people that were granted international protection, stands at about 32,000. Pending asylum applications stand at about 17,000 with some 4,000 pending appeals.
Neophytou said Cyprus, while it respects international human rights treaties, on the other hand, said the influx, due to external factors, was creating huge problems in terms of security, welfare and social cohesion.
“For those who are trying to see Cyprus as a paradise for asylum seekers, our position as a state must be clear,” he said.
He also said the party expects the government to take decisions in the coming days to shield Cyprus without violating international treaties.
“At the same time, we have an obligation to protect our country and society,” he added.
Last week the government said it would ready a plan of action by Tuesday.