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Cyprus and Poland sign agreement to combat organised crime
2005-02-18 11:38:26

Nicosia, Feb 18 (CNA) --

Cyprus and Poland signed here Friday a cooperation agreement on combating organised crime.

The agreement was signed by Cypriot Justice and Public Order Minister Doros Theodorou and Polish Interior and Administration Minister Ryszard Kulisz, who is visiting the island.

The agreement refers to joint efforts by the two countries to tackle problems concerning the borders of the EU, drug trafficking, trafficking of persons, illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.

In statements after the meeting, Kulisz said he asked Cypriot support for the Polish bid for the creation of a Warsaw-based the European Centre for the management and control of the external borders.

He expressed satisfaction with the cooperation agreement between the two countries, noting that it makes Polish and Cypriot citizens feel more safe.

In his remarks Theodorou said the Polish Minister agreed with the Cypriot government position that the international waters north of Cyprus (north of Turkish-occupied Cyprus) must become a zone for joint operations of European countries with a view to control illegal immigration.

The two ministers noted that exchange of expertise will take place through visits of police officers starting from the leadership and authorities that deal with the protection of the borders.

As regards Cyprus' northern borders Theodorou said he explained to the Polish Minister that 90% of the wave of illegal immigrants come in Cyprus from the Turkish-occupied north of the island.

This, he added, is the result of Ankara's policy, which issues visas to citizens of third countries, mainly Moslem, to visit Turkey and the occupied north and then they pass to the government-controlled areas applying for political asylum.

Asked if Cyprus supports the Polish bid to assume responsibility for the Centre of management of the external borders of the EU, Theodorou noted that Cyprus has to chose between six countries.

Noting that the ministerial council will take the final decision, Theodorou concluded that Cyprus' final decisions will rely on the positions of the interested parties as regards issues that interest the island.

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