Ranko Ostojic: No reason to close border


Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said on Tuesday there was not a single reason for Croatia to close its border to refugees because it was completely safe, adding that any refugees who might attempt to enter Croatia from the south would be sent back to where they came  from.

Ostojic said that already on the fourth day since refugees started coming to Croatia “there were indications that a southern route might be opened too,” stressing that Croatia would not allow that. “Our message is clear. Croatia will not be a collection centre for refugees from the Middle East,” he told a press conference in Opatovac, eastern Croatia after Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic visited the refugee reception centre there.
Reporters were interested to know why in the previous days state officials had made conflicting statements about works being carried out in former military facilities on the Prevlaka peninsula, on the southern border with Montenegro.
“Because there have been a lot of attempts to destabilise the situation. While fifth-columnists were doing their work, my duty was to act in Croatia’s interests,  and in the process I made certain moves that gave the impression that one day I said one thing and the next day another,” he said, adding that the military facilities in Prevlaka were being renovated for use by the police.
Ostojic went on to say that the number of refugees arriving via Bapska and Tovarnik near the border with Serbia was not as large as it had been in recent days, but noted that the situation was changing by the day. He said that Croatia had not yet received funds to cover the costs of provision for the refugees, recalling that already on day one he had prepared all the necessary documents and applied for aid from EU emergency funds. He said he expected the aid to come in as soon as possible.
Asked why the police had removed a stall set up by non-governmental organisations at the entrance to the Opatovac reception centre where activists cooked and handed out food to arriving refugees, Ostojic said that non-governmental organisations had to observe sanitary regulations too. “I very much appreciate their help, but what would happen if a disease had broken out in the camp?”
Ostojic said that there was no need to use facilities other than the Opatovac camp as long as refugees could be quickly transported from there.