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Pope Francis heads to Cyprus to resolve migration issues

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La visite du Pape François sur l'île de Chypre

Migrant Crisis

Pope Francis arrived on the divided island of Cyprus Thursday and migration is a key feature of his visit.

Two Cameroonian asylum-seekers have lived in a small blue tent for some six months.

But now they hear they could be among the chosen ones to be rescued by Pope Francis during this week's Papal trip and taken to Italy.

"I am so much happy, obviously, that would be the best thing so far for me right now, if I have the opportunity to go back with him (Pope Francis) then I would be so much grateful. If he can do this for me then I would so much love him. I will be happy if I have that opportunity" said Grace Enjei, a 24-year old Cameroonian asylum seeker.

"I know the Pope, I think God believes in me because I am a Catholic Christian. So I believe the Pope heard our case, so that means our case will be solved, and that's the belief that I have." added Daniel Ejuba, another Cameroonian asylum seeker.

Experts say the Greek Cypriot authorities don't want to set a precedent that could trigger a surge of migrants seeking to cross over from the north.

The Papal visit is drawing fresh attention to the plight of migrants on Europe's borders, and the gulf between the Pope's call for countries to welcome them and the unwillingness of front-line governments to let them in.

Cyprus has seen such a spike in migrant arrivals this year - a 38% increase in the first 10 months compared to all of last year - that it has formally asked the European Commission to let it stop processing asylum claims altogether. 

Many of the faithful in line on Wednesday morning to pick up invitations to the Papal Mass scheduled in Nicosia on Friday were African refugees.