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World: EU praises Bosnia for improved migration management

EU faces down fresh crisis at its borders, as officials accuse Belarus of weaponizing migrant surge

  EU faces down fresh crisis at its borders, as officials accuse Belarus of weaponizing migrant surge The European Union is facing another crisis at its borders as thousands of migrants gather at the border between Belarus and Poland — with officials accusing Belarus of manufacturing a migrant surge to weaponize against the bloc — and fears that Russia may be behind the brewing tensions. "From a distance, these events on the Polish-Belarusian border may look like a migration crisis, but this is not a migration crisis, it is a political crisis triggered with the special purpose of destabilizing the situation in the European Union," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said this week.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The European Union praised as a sign of progress the opening of a new migrant facility Friday in Bosnia, which had been criticized over the plight of migrants stranded in the dysfunctional Balkan country during their long trek to richer destinations.

A migrant is illuminated by the sun as he sits in a container at the newly built camp that was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press A migrant is illuminated by the sun as he sits in a container at the newly built camp that was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo)

The new, organized Lipa camp, in the northwestern Krajina region, can accommodate, screen and register up to 1,500 people, and includes safe zones for unaccompanied minors and vulnerable people.

US envoy: Bosnia's presidency pledges no more wars

  US envoy: Bosnia's presidency pledges no more wars SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Members of Bosnia’s collective presidency have offered assurances that there will be no repeat of ethnic clashes in the war-scarred nation, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Monday, despite deep tensions triggered by Bosnian Serb separatist moves. “The most important thing that we agreed with all of the interlocutors that we met with today is that we all agree that there will be no war and that’s the most important message,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar after his meetings with Bosniak, Serb and Croat presidency members.

It was erected in a remote, rural area where local authorities had forcibly moved last fall hundreds of people from overcrowded EU-funded, UN-run facilities in surrounding town centers due to the growing hostility of the local population.

A newly built camp for migrants was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press A newly built camp for migrants was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo)

“Eleven months ago, exactly, we were standing here, (in) the same location but completely different circumstances, in the middle of a humanitarian crisis,” Johann Sattler, the EU representative in Bosnia, said at the opening ceremony Friday. “Today we are here in this new multi-purpose reception center.”

Envoy: US ready to confront attempts to tear Bosnia apart

  Envoy: US ready to confront attempts to tear Bosnia apart SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The United States is paying very close attention to Bosnia's political crisis and has tools it can use against the divisive nationalist leaders in the war-scared, multiethnic Balkan country who would try to “tear it apart,” a senior U.S. official said Tuesday. “Our appeal to leaders (in Bosnia) is to rise above their own self-interest and to try to keep in mind the broader interest of their county,” U.S. State Department Counselor Derek Chollet told The Associated Press in an interview.

Laura Lungarotti, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans and IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina Chief of Mission adjusts her mask at the newly built camp that was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press Laura Lungarotti, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans and IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina Chief of Mission adjusts her mask at the newly built camp that was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo)

He said the Bosnian-run camp, funded with 1.7 million euros from the EU, signified the “opening of a new chapter” of migration management in impoverished Bosnia — which borders with EU-member Croatia where most migrants seek to continue their journey into the affluent 27-country bloc.

Doctor warns Iraqi Kurds: Illegal path to EU can be deadly

  Doctor warns Iraqi Kurds: Illegal path to EU can be deadly BIELSK PODLASKI, Poland (AP) — Dr. Arsalan Azzaddin was seeing migrants from Iraq and Syria being brought into a hospital in eastern Poland every day with hypothermia, pneumonia, broken bones and severe dehydration. So he asked a Kurdish TV channel to let him go on the news to warn people in his homeland not to attempt the dangerous journey into the European Union through the Belarus-Poland border. “I want them not to come. They could die,” Azzaddin told The Associated Press on Monday.

The decision by Bosnian authorities last year to leave on the site of the new camp some 1,400 people in the cold, with no facilities, heat or food, had angered Brussels, which threatened to withdraw financial support for Bosnia's migration management structures.

A newly built camp for migrants was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press A newly built camp for migrants was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo)

Under a strong international outcry, Bosnian authorities worked to overcome local resistance before agreeing months ago to erect the new facility. At the same time, the slowdown in irregular migratory flows in the Balkans due to COVID-19 pandemic helped ease the pressure in Krajina.

Bosnian Red Cross employees attend the inauguration of newly built camp by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press Bosnian Red Cross employees attend the inauguration of newly built camp by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo)

Some 3,000 migrants and refugees are currently stuck in Bosnia, compared to over 10,000 at the start of last year.

Central European nations back Poland in migration dispute

  Central European nations back Poland in migration dispute BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The leaders of three Central European countries on Tuesday expressed their solidarity with Poland in an ongoing migration crisis on its eastern border with Belarus, and urged the European Union to increase its support for the protection of the bloc's external borders. At a news briefing in Hungary's capital of Budapest following talks between the prime ministers of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the situation on his country's eastern border went beyond migration.

The country — still deeply scarred by a brutal inter-ethnic war in the 1990s — became migrants' last practicable, albeit illegal, jumping-off point for the EU's prosperous heartland after a series of Balkan border closures in 2016.

Since then, over 84.000 migrants entered the country of 3.5 million, mostly on its eastern border with Serbia, after a trek through Greece, North Macedonia and Montenegro. Fewer than 3% requested asylum in Bosnia.

At first, Bosnian authorities were happy to wave the newcomers through to Croatia. But after Croatian authorities sealed the border and reportedly resorted to violent pushbacks of migrants, Krajina was overcome by thousands of people forced to sleep outside in forests, streets and abandoned buildings.

Migrants stand outside a container at the newly built camp that was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press Migrants stand outside a container at the newly built camp that was inaugurated by European Union and International Organization for Migration officials along with Bosnian authorities near Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty remain stuck in Bosnia waiting for a chance to move toward European Union nations, most migrants flocking to the northwestern corner, which is bordering European Union member state Croatia.(AP Photo)

As hostility to migrants grew, local authorities in Krajina begun shutting down temporary reception centers established and run in the area by the United Nations migration agency, IOM. At the same time, national authorities used local resistance as excuse to reject assuming responsibility for housing migrants.

Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead

  Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead CALAIS, France (AP) — At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat. Authorities found 31 bodies — including those of five women and a young girl — and two survivors, he said. One person appeared to still be missing. The nationalities of the travelers was not immediately known. © Provided by Associated Press French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin answers the press in Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

“We have managed to turn a kind of a tragedy of last year into an opportunity because we (now) have a state-of-the-art camp ... respecting all humanitarian and human standards and run by the state," said Laura Lungarotti, Bosnia IOM chief of mission.

Bosnia has made “big steps forward to improve migration management,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told an international conference on migration in Sarajevo Thursday.

“I encourage (Bosnia) to build on this achievement to work on sustainable migration management on all levels of government, across the whole country,” she added.

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Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats .
LONDON (AP) — The deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel is fueling tensions between the U.K. and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats. Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the channel are already blaming their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday's tragedy.

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