Source AP ©

Greece: EU must protest southern borders against illigal immigrants

Southern borders in Greece and Turkey must be protected better from the influx of illegal migrants, Greece's interior minister said Monday.

"Illegal immigration is a European problem, and I say it yet again that our borders are Europe's borders, which Europe must protect," Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in Nicosia after talks with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

Pavlopoulos said Greece and Cyprus would raise the issue in Brussels at a forum on illegal immigration Thursday.

He also criticized EU member candidate Turkey for not fully implementing strict regulations against illegal immigration and human trafficking.

"We make it clear that we're open to (Turkey's) accession" to the EU, he said, but stressed that Ankara must meet all EU entry requirements. "Turkey is obliged to come to terms with this fact."

Nicosia complains that "virtually all" illegal immigrants entering government-controlled territory in the south pass through a porous cease-fire line from the Turkish-held north of the island via Turkey.

Pavlopoulos wrapped up a one-day visit to the island after signing a police cooperation agreement between Greece and Cyprus.