Austria offers Serbia support in border protection

Photo: Xinhua/Marios Lolos

VIENNA – Should there be another major migrant wave, which is not the case for the time being, Serbia will be capable of protecting its national and state interests, as well as European interests, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said in Vienna on Friday.

After a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, Vucic said that, in the event of a new major migrant wave, Serbia would speak with EU officials and that he would be among the first to consult the Austrian chancellor.

Whatever the EU decision may be in that case, we would be ready to implement it immediately and protect the borders, Vucic said at a joint press conference with Kern.

He said Kern had presented to him Austria’s clear and unequivocal position on what it wanted, and added that Serbia would act accordingly.

Serbia has been particularly respectful of human rights and showed solidarity, and now it knows precisely what it is doing – in collaboration with Austria and other European countries it will protect the rights of people coming from war-torn regions, while protecting its own borders and the right to life of those who have lived in Europe for decades and centuries, Vucic said.

Kern offered Austrian police and military support in securing borders, to which Vucic replied that any assistance and support was welcome.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic discussed with Austrian officials on Friday the two countries’ actions for the coming period regarding illegal border crossings and ways to keep Serbia and Austria safe.

“Our goal, as agreed today by Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, is to deploy a part of the Austrian police force on the Serbian-Macedonian border to help prevent illegal border crossings,” Stefanovic told Tanjug after a meeting with Austrian security official General Franz Lang.

Our task is to try and send a signal that we will not allow any illegal crossings of the Serbian border and that, deep inside our territory, we will also continue to fight those smuggling people towards Western Europe, Stefanovic said.

“It is also up to us to not allow smuggling of any form, or smuggling of anything that could jeopardise our and the EU’s security,” Stefanovic said.

Stefanovic added that he had also requested assistance in acquiring specialised thermal vision cameras that would be deployed along the Serbian border.

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