The Slovenian Foreign Ministry on Thursday replied to a note whereby Croatia expressed its protest at Slovenian police having put on Croatian territory a part of a fence to manage the migrant influx at Harmica near the border with Croatia, dismissing claims that the fence encroached on Croatian territory and insisting that the fence was put up on Slovenian territory, the Slovenian press agency STA said.
The Slovenian government said that the barbed wire fence on the border did not mean demarcation of the state border and that it had informed the Croatian government and the arbitral tribunal in charge of the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute about this.
The Slovenian ministry said that only temporary barriers had been put up depending on the configuration of the ground, and their purpose was to direct refugees towards registration points and reception centres and to “protect the external Schengen border.”
“Slovenia is trying to avoid incidents and conflicts and is calling on Croatia to do the same,” the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said in its reply to Croatia’s protest note, calling for regional cooperation in dealing with the refugee crisis.
“Migrations of such a large scale as this are a big challenge to all countries in the region and it is important that they cooperate most closely in managing migrant flows,” reads the Slovenian reply.
Slovenian Defence Minister Andreja Katic said during a visit to the refugee camp at Gornja Radgona on Thursday afternoon that she was confident the two countries would find a way to overcome the latest problem regarding the fence.
The fence is being put up as planned, in the places where our police estimate that it should be put up, Katic said.
A State Secretary at the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior, Bostjan Sefic, today commented on Croatia’s claims that some parts of the fence encroached on its territory, saying that the fence was on Slovenian territory and that Slovenia would not remove it.
“The fence has been put on Slovenian soil and has nothing to do with border demarcation, there is no reason to dismantle it and we hope that Croatia will accept our explanations,” Sefic told a news conference.