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EU says assessing Cypriot plea to relocate 5,000 migrants

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 8/7/2019

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A spokeswoman for the European Union's executive arm says it is assessing a request by Cyprus to relocate 5,000 migrants to other member-states.

EU Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said Wednesday the 28-member bloc stands ready to boost financial and operational support to help the east Mediterranean island nation.

In a letter to EU's migration commissioner, Cyprus' Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said the country is stretched to the point where it might not be able to help migrants in real need of protection.

Petrides said Cyprus has the EU's highest number of first-time asylum applications per capita for the third year running.

He said nearly 7,000 people have applied for asylum in Cyprus in the first half of 2019.

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