Minister Pendes: Armed Forces cannot protect border from migrants

NEWS 27.06.2019 16:05
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Source: N1

Armed Forces cannot be deployed to protect the border, unless the law changes, Bosnia's Defence Minister Marina Pendes told N1, commenting on allegation of possible deployment of soldiers who would protect the country from influx of illegal migrants.

“The Armed Forces members cannot be sent to the border. Pursuant to the law, a member of the Armed Forces does not protect the country's border,” the minister said in a statement for N1.

According to her, Bosnia's Security Minister was tasked to prepare the information to be discussed by the Council of Ministers, which is Bosnia's state government, and the Defence Ministry would then based on that information prepare a proposal to send it to the Presidency.

Such decision has not been made yet, she added.

The situation with migrants has been a burning issue for months in Bosnia, with dozens of illegal migrants invading the country in hope they would eventually cross the border with Croatia and continue the journey to their final destinations in European Union. As Croatia keeps its border closed for illegal migrants, the ones who enter Bosnia are now stranded in temporary shelters at several locations, mostly in the northwest and near Sarajevo.

Since the number of incoming migrants is increasing, local authorities seem to be losing control over the situation and the locals inhabiting the area near the migrant centres are complaining about deteriorated safety.

Minister Pendes is on an official visit to Brussels, where she is attending a meeting of the NATO member states and its partners participating in the mission in Afghanistan.

She reiterated Bosnia's commitment to keep supporting the peace mission in that country and confirmed that the number of officers to be deployed in the ninth month will increase.

The minister also held a series of meetings on the sidelines of the summit and discussed further cooperation with the NATO Deputy Secretary General, and defence ministers of Croatia, Spain, Hungary and Italy.

Bosnia's path to the NATO, according to her, was not on agenda. However, she added that the Annual National Programme, a document that the Alliance expects from Bosnia's authorities, is a priority.

“We all know what ANP means to every country. That's a plan of activities that a country and all its institutions take over with an aim to work on reform processes. Of course, the Ministry of Defence, as well as the entire country, is collaborating on that. I am convinced that we will find a way to continue more active and stronger cooperation with NATO through an adequate programme,” said Pendes.