Bosnia and Herzegovina will use all available capacities to enhance control and surveillance on the eastern border and prevent the entry of illegal migrants, was stated as the conclusion of the Operational Headquarters for Migration Issues in BiH, held on Thursday in Sarajevo.
Given the operational data on the number of migrants in Greece and the movement of migrants on the Balkan route, the strengthening of border control has been identified as a top priority in resolving the migrant situation.
“Therefore, it was requested from the Border Police to submit an analysis of the required number of police officers for the next meeting of the Police in order to completely close the 600 km long eastern border, which will be further forwarded to the Council of Ministers of BiH. Dragan Mektic, country’s security minister, introduced the proposal of the Hungarian Government to send a number of police officers to assist in the monitoring of the border without weapons and police powers.
The headquarters accepted this offer and a proposal of the agreement will soon be sent to the Council of Ministers and the BiH Presidency.
In the first two months of this year, 2,260 migrants entered BiH, recording an increase from the same period last year.
At present, there are about 3,500 migrants in BiH, and they are all accommodated in eight reception centers.
Earlier in February this year, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) Council of Ministers chairman Denis Zvizdic said that BiH will not allow becoming a gathering of migrants in the Western Balkans and any financial assistance that would have been directed at it will not be accepted.
He reminded that BiH currently has six centers where a maximum of 4,500 migrants can be accommodated and that this is the number they can handle, bearing in mind the fact that BiH’s safety is the most important issue, Federal News Agency reports.
Zvizdic said that the country will continue to deal with migrants based on three basic principles, among which the first one is the humane way of dealing with migrants, while respecting international and domestic laws regulating this area.
However, if the borders towards the European Union are fully closed, then BiH will close its borders as well, Zvizdic confirmed, because if the influx of migrants on the Balkan route is strengthened, BiH’s borders will be protected.
“The second numerous group of migrants who enter BiH are those from Iran who come to Serbia as tourists, and enter BiH as migrants because Serbia and Iran have a visa-free regime,” Zvizdic explained.
He said that the country would no longer allow it, and migrants coming from war-affected countries will have priority, and for the rest, will allocate policemen at the border where migrants illegally enter BiH and return them to Serbia and Montenegro.
He also noted that no donated euro for dealing with the migration crisis did not go through the system of funding, but that funds were allocated through international organizations fin the amount of 6 million euros.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants passed through the so-called “Balkan route” in 2015, trying to reach Western Europe. BiH was then not part of that route. The increasing number of migrants was recorded from the end of 2017, and since January 2018, over 25,000 migrants and refugees arrived through Serbia and Montenegro.