Migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria resting in a park in Sarajevo, Bosnia. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/FEHIM DEMIR
Migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria resting in a park in Sarajevo, Bosnia. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/FEHIM DEMIR

Bosnian minister for security Dragan Mektic has stated firmly that the country cannot become "a migrant reception centre" and made clear that it will not host the proposed EU-funded refugee camps currently under discussion in Brussels.

"Bosnia does not have the capacity to become a migrant reception centre and I have made this clear in Brussels," said minister for security Dragan Mektic, adding that the Bosnian authorities are aware of the difficulties experienced by the local institutions, particularly in the Bihac canton due to the large concentration of migrants wanting to cross into Croatia. 


Irregular migration is a common issue and needs to be tackled collectively, the minister said. "The problem comes from Bulgaria and Greece and the western Balkan countries mustn't be the victim of the migration crisis." 

490 people prevented from entering 

Mektic said that the deployment of police reinforcements on the border is having an effect in terms of countering irregular migration, and over the last week 490 people have been prevented from entering the country. So far 7,128 migrants have been registered in the country. "They arrive from EU countries, especially Greece and Bulgaria, and they want only to pass through the Balkans into other EU countries, so the EU should find a solution." 

'No refugee camps here' 

Mektic dismissed speculation over alleged large EU-funded refugee camps in Bosnia. "There will be no such thing: we are the victim of the migration crisis, we are suffering the consequences because the migrants want to pass from one EU country to another". "Here we can provide humanitarian assistance, but we do not want to find ourselevs in the condition of setting up reception centres, we don't have the capacity," the minister said. 

"I am not interested in the funding, there can be only two reception centres in Bosnia": a former barracks near Sarajevo and a former warehouse in Velika Kladusa in the west of the country. Currently most migrants arriving in Bosnia on the Balkan route are from Pakistan "and are not fleeing insecurity but are instead economic migrants who we cannot take in". 
 

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