Migrants: Bosnia, EU diplomats visit Lipa camp

'Reception also regards candidate countries for EU accession'

14 January, 11:56

    (ANSAmed) - SARAJEVO, JANUARY 14 - Nearly 2,500 refugees are currently living in extremely precarious conditions in northwest Bosnia-Herzegovina, wandering outside in the icy cold and snow with no end in sight to the migrant crisis there, said Amnesty International.

    EU Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Johann Sattler and the ambassadors of Germany and Austria discussed the problem on Wednesday in Bihac, in the Una-Sana Canton at the border with Croatia.

    The diplomats, accompanied by Bosnian Security Minister Selmo Cikotic, visited the Lipa camp, which was destroyed by a fire on December 23 and where the Bosnian Army subsequently built a tent camp currently hosting 750 migrants who were left without shelter after the fire.

    Despite snow and below-zero temperatures, preparations are already underway at Lipa for remodeling the camp, which will become a permanent reception centre suitable for winter conditions.

    Cikotic said now it is critical to create ways to manage the crisis, with a planned and organized mechanism across the country, which will not be easy.

    He said the migrant problem is not merely a humanitarian or security issue, but is already taking on the dimensions of a serious political crisis.

    The EU representatives on Thursday said EU member states as well as candidate countries for EU accession must take care of migrants, clearly referencing the two entities that make up Bosnia-Herzegovina: the Croat-Muslim Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the Republika Srpska (RS).

    The Serbo-Bosnian leader Milorad Dodik, in a recent telephone meeting with EU High Representative Josep Borrell, said the RS does not intend to receive migrants and refugees in any way in its territory, while the majority Croat-Bosnian authorities of the cantons of western Herzegovina have also avoided receiving migrants in various ways. (ANSA).

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