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Britain says Cyprus Military Base Will Not Become New Migrant Route

  • Reuters

Syrian migrants are temporarily housed at a warehouse after coming ashore at RAF base Akrotiri, Cyprus, Oct. 21, 2015.

Syrian migrants are temporarily housed at a warehouse after coming ashore at RAF base Akrotiri, Cyprus, Oct. 21, 2015.

A British military base in Cyprus will not become a new route into Britain for migrants, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said on Friday following the arrival of more than 100 people earlier this week.

On Wednesday, 114 migrants in fishing boats came ashore at Akrotiri base on the southern coast of the island — the first time in the migrant crisis that refugees have landed directly on British sovereign soil.

"We're not going to allow this to become some kind of new route of migration into Britain," the spokesman said, stressing that any asylum claims would be processed by Cyprus.

Although the migrants arrived on what is considered British territory, officials have said an agreement is in place with Cyprus, which would assume responsibility for them.

Despite its proximity to Syria, EU member Cyprus has seen little of the influx of refugees received by Greece, where arrivals have topped 500,000 this year.

Refugees avoid the island because of its relative geographical isolation, which makes it difficult to travel on to other parts of Europe.

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