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Central American leaders to mediate dispute over Cuban migrants

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Costa Rican authorities say a Central American regional bloc will take up the issue of some 2,000 Cuban migrants who have been denied entry by Nicaragua, a case that has ramped up diplomatic tensions.

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez says foreign ministers of the SICA bloc are expected to meet Monday in El Salvador and will consider the issue a humanitarian concern rather than a security concern.

Gonzalez said Thursday that neighboring countries "have reacted in a positive and supportive way" to the idea of seeking a regional solution.

Nicaraguan soldiers forcefully pushed the Cubans back from the border earlier this week. The migrants say they do not want to stay in Central America but rather are trying to reach the United States.

There has been a surge in the number of Cubans trying to reach the United States in recent months. Many would-be migrants from the island fear that the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana may bring an end to decades-old policies allowing Cubans who reach U.S. soil to stay, although U.S. officials say no change is currently being contemplated.

Ecuador does not require Cubans to obtain visas, so many begin their journey there.

Among the many migrants travelling through Central America, eight Syrian refugees have been detained at the border of Mexico and the United States on Thursday.

Another group of Syrian refugees have been detained in Honduras. They arrived by traveling to Brazil and then continued their journey through several South American countries.

Border security has come under harsh scrutiny in recent days after it was revealed that at least some of the people involved in the Paris attacks had posed as Syrian refugees to make it into Cuba.

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