Cikotic: Austria will support BiH when it comes to the Return of Migrants to their Countries of Origin

Austria has shown readiness to support Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in returning migrants to their countries of origin, said Minister of Security of BiH, Selmo Cikotic, who yesterday signed a Memorandum on strengthening cooperation for a more efficient fight against illegal migration with Austrian Minister of the Interior,  Karl Nehammer.

Cikotic told that they consider the return of migrants to their countries of origin as one of the most important mechanisms and that Austria is especially ready to support activities regarding the issues of forced readmissions based on signed agreements.

“Austria is ready to finance charter flights that BiH security structures will undertake in that regard,” Cikotic emphasized.

He added that BiH and Austria are cooperating on a large number of issues in the fight against security challenges and threats and that they have a particularly important role in various ways on the so-called “Western Balkan route”.

Cikotic thanked Austria for the assistance it provided in the past few months in the fight against illegal migration in BiH and pointed out the specific amount of one million euros, which the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent to BiH, and half a million euros sent by the Austrian Ministry of the Interior.

He further mentioned 135 conditional containers that will be placed at the “Lipa” camp for the construction of more permanent and better accommodation capacity for migrants.

Also, it was mentioned that several other technical issues related to Frontex and cooperation were discussed, as well as the possible engagement of Austrian experts and police officers.

“Today’s meeting is just one link in the chain of a large series of measures and activities that have been undertaken so far and which will certainly be present in the upcoming period,” Cikotic stated yesterday.

Nehammer pointed out that BiH has made a great effort to protect its borders and prevent the passage of migrants to the west, and that Austria is ready to support it in returning migrants to their countries of origin.

“With the support of BiH, last year we managed to create the platform with the aim of preventing the migrant crisis,” said Nehammer.

Furthermore, he said that the Memorandum also includes police cooperation in terms of cybercrime, and it will strengthen the fight against terrorism. “Austria will continue to support BiH’s path to becoming a full member of Frontex,” Nehamer noted.

They discussed the need for inter-institutional cooperation and the importance of cooperation between countries in the fight against illegal migration when it comes to solving many other security challenges, especially when it comes to organized crime, human trafficking, and possible terrorist threats, as well as drug and arms trafficking.


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