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Cyprus to seek EU help on growing asylum applications

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus’ interior minister says the east Mediterranean island nation will seek help from the European Union as it comes under increasing strain from a large spike in the number of asylum applications.

Minister Constantinos Petrides said Wednesday that tiny Cyprus ranks first among EU member states in the number of asylum applications relative to its population. In the first eight months of 2018, over 4,000 asylum applications were submitted as compared with 2,600 over the same period last year.

Petrides said Cyprus will demand EU measures to ease the “disproportionate burden” it now bears, including a system that would fairly distribute those granted asylum among all of the bloc’s member states.