Repatriation of migrants to the countries of their origin is one of the main mechanisms to deal with the issue of migrations, Bosnian Security Minister Selmo Cikotic said on Wednesday, following the meeting with Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, who offered support of his country in these activities.
The officials discussed the ways to improve the cooperation in sectors of security and migration management.
Minister Cikotic said the two countries cooperate on a number of issues that include the fight against security challenges and threats, with the fight against smuggling of migrants and illegal migrations as one of the top issues.
“In different ways, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria play special roles on this so-called Western Balkan route,” he added.
Cikotic thanked Austria for the assistance it provided to BiH in fighting illegal migrations over the past few months, emphasising the financial aid in the amount of one million euro that the Austrian Foreign Affairs Ministry send to BiH as well as half million euro sent by the Austrian Interior Ministry.
“Besides all these measures, we find the repatriation of migrants to the countries of their origin one of the most important mechanisms. Austria demonstrated readiness to support those activities in BiH, especially those concerning the issue of forceful readmissions based on the signed agreements, and Austria is ready to fund charter flights that security structures in BiH will organise towards the implementation of this measure,” he added.
Nehammer assessed the meeting as excellent, noting that it was grounded on a great friendship between BiH and Austria.
“BiH put big efforts to protect its borders and prevent movement of migrants further towards the west. With the help of BiH, we managed to form a platform last year aimed to prevent the migrant crisis,” he said.
The memorandum of strengthening the cooperation towards the efficient fight against illegal migrations signed in Sarajevo on Wednesday also treats the matter of police cooperation in terms of cybercrime.
“It will also strengthen the fight against terrorism. Austria will continue to support BiH's path to become a full member of FRONTEX,” Nehammer added.