Bosnia Will Seek a Coordinated Response to the Migrant Situation

Bosnia’s security minister said that although 611 migrants have applied for asylum in Bosnia, none were granted one yet as the applicants do not turn out for the asylum procedure and they can’t be found at the addresses they list as a temporary residence.

Following a meeting of the government’s migration task force in Sarajevo, minister Dragan Mektić told the press that 611 out of 5,878 migrants registered in the country sought asylum. He said that the asylum procedure can last for months as the authorities collect the facts about the risk of political persecution in the applicant’s country of origin.

According to the minister, 292 migrants were returned to Bosnia from the neighboring countries, mostly Croatia, and 517 were deported back to the countries that have readmission agreements with Bosnia.

The migrant situation in the country can be controlled only if Bosnia remained a transit country

Minister Mektić said that that a mini donor conference will be organized next week for foreign ambassadors and members of the international community in Bosnia, in order to raise additional money for the migrant situation. According to him, Bosnia was granted about two million Euros by foreign governments so far and the country’s Council of Ministers approved nearly 40,000 Euros from the current budget reserves, but more money will be needed to handle the migrant situation as the resources of humanitarian organizations are running out.

The minister said that a meeting on the migrant situation will be held in Brussels on Monday. He said that Bosnia will seek a coordinated response of the governments in the Balkans region and the European Union.

Mektić said that additional police from Republika Srpska entity and the Brčko District will be dispatched on Monday to help the border police. He repeated the earlier claims of other government officials that Bosnia will have no choice but to seal the eastern border with Serbia and Montenegro in case the western neighbors stopped migrants from leaving Bosnia. The migrant situation in the country can be controlled only if Bosnia remained a transit country, he said.

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