The United Nations (UN) has waded into the discussions between Cyprus and the UK over who should be responsible for 114 migrants who landed on the island on Wednesday, telling Britain they should shoulder the cost.
Reaction to the potential scandal of two boats containing 114 migrants landing undetected on the shores of an important British military base were muted in Britain, but behind closed doors diplomats have been working hard to find a solution for the arrivals. While Cyprus insists the migrant group are Britain’s problem because they landed on the Sovereign territory of RAF Akrotiri, the UK government insists this is not the case.
The government is insisting on adherence to a 2004 document signed between the UK and Cyprus which laid down rules surrounding refugees -the Daily Mail reports. This includes a stipulation that all asylum seekers that came to the base from Cyprus would be returned there.
The technical detail that is causing the row is that the migrants who landed by boat did so directly onto the RAF base, not touching down on Cypriot soil first.
Now the UN has stepped in and said that while the migrants could be sent to the Republic of Cyprus, all costs they then incurred would have to be met by the British state. The group is presently staying in a hangar on the British base, but are expected to be moved to a refugee centre in Cyprus.
The British authorities at RAF Akrotiri and in Whitehall must now face the clear and present danger that should the migrants challenge the decision and claim refuge in the United Kingdom instead, more boats may come from nearby Syria with the intention of landing on the base.
RAF Akrotiri in southern Cyprus is the airbase from which RAF Tornado fighter bombers attack the Islamic State, and the fact that two heavily laden, slow migrant boats caught the RAF Regiment guards napping will no doubt cause concern.
Speaking to Breitbart London in April, recently retired Royal Navy Admiral Chris Parry said it was just a matter of time before Islamist groups would start launching raids on Southern Europe and Mediterranean islands by boat.
Comparing a possible terrorist event to the Mumbai attack in 2008 in which fast boats were used to insert radical Islamist commandos who then laid siege to the city and killed over 150, Adm. Parry said piratical raids on Europe were common during the last Caliphate. He said:
“If there isn’t the political will or military ability to face down threats off the North African littoral, be it migration, criminality, or terrorism, then we will get progressive erosion. We will get raids on coasts, we will get yachts intercepted at sea, we will get merchant ships subject to terrorist, pirate, or criminal attack.
“The Western world needs to have more self belief in its own values, it has to hold its nerve, and we have to rediscover a lot of self-reliance”.
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