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Croatia to discuss with its EU partners whether to take in more Afghans

Croatia will decide, in talks with its partners, whether to take in more Afghan nationals fleeing the Taliban rule, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Sunday after the arrival of 19 Afghans who will seek and be granted asylum in Croatia.

Zagreb, 30 August 2021 (Hina/MIA) — Croatia will decide, in talks with its partners, whether to take in more Afghan nationals fleeing the Taliban rule, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Sunday after the arrival of 19 Afghans who will seek and be granted asylum in Croatia.

“We will see with our partners whether to take in more Afghan nationals,” Grlić Radman told the public HTV broadcaster, adding that Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović would travel to Brussels next week to discuss migrations and refugees with other EU ministers.

Nineteen Afghan nationals — three families with children — arrived at Zagreb Airport on Saturday. The immigrants had worked as support staff for the Croatian mission in Afghanistan and had been vetted prior to their employment. The Ministry of the Interior has said that their identity will not be made known for the sake of their security.

“They have already been provided with accommodation… those three families include ten children, they are the most vulnerable group,” said the minister.

“We have responded right away, in line with our possibilities and logistic conditions,” Grlić Radman said.

He stressed that Afghanistan was faced with a major humanitarian crisis and that the situation in the country was changing the paradigm of global security.

“This will be a very sensitive security issue that will require multilateral action because we all want peace and stability in that part of the world,” he said, adding that one could also hear that the Taliban were not what they had been 20 years ago.

On French president’s visit

Commenting on a report about a plan for French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Croatia, Grlić Radman said that preparations for the visit had been going on for some time and that the French president was expected to pay a working visit in October or November, as well as that the date would be determined by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Grlić Radman underlined the importance of France in the EU and the global order, pointing to a joint proposal by Paris and London for Kabul Airport to be declared a safe zone.

“France constitutes the backbone of the EU,” said the minister.

The talks with Macron will focus on the promotion of bilateral relations, economic cooperation, and the future of the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe, Grlić Radman said, recalling that the new EU admission methodology had complicated EU entry talks for North Macedonia and Albania.

“Croatia will try to appeal for stronger involvement by France” when it comes to security and stability in the Western Balkans, primarily Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the minister.

He noted that Croatia considered Bosnia and Herzegovina as a country with an EU membership prospect and wanted to discuss the importance of changes to its election law.

“That is the only way to make BiH functional and stable, with legitimate representatives of all peoples at all levels of government. The election law should guarantee the equality of all three constituent peoples,” said Grlić Radman.

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