Croatia lifts Serbia border restrictions - minister

2015-09-26 07:13
A group of migrants wave as they are transported in a Croatian police vehicle, near Batina, (AP)

A group of migrants wave as they are transported in a Croatian police vehicle, near Batina, (AP)

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Zagreb - Croatia under EU pressure on Friday removed its border restrictions with Serbia, which it had introduced over the migrant crisis, Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said on the government's Twitter account.

"The border was unblocked at 17:00. All cars, regardless of their registration plates ... can now enter Croatia," Ostojic said.

The announcement came after the European Commission "urgently sought clarifications" from Croatia over the curbs, which escalated into the worst row between the two Balkan neighbours ever since they fought each other in the 1990s.

Nearly 60 000 migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa have entered Croatia in recent days from Serbia, official figures showed on Friday.

The influx started after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia earlier this month.

Croatia, moving most of the new arrivals on buses and trains to Hungary, has said repeatedly it could not cope with such a large influx.

The EU member told Serbia to start re-directing the refugees and migrants towards Hungary and Romania, halting border traffic to try to put pressure on Belgrade.

On Friday, an interior ministry statement confirmed Ostojic's statement, saying traffic could now flow "without restrictions" at the key Bajakovo-Batrovci crossing, the last to remained open both to trucks and cars after the dispute flared up last week, as well as at nearby Tovarnik.

The other six crossings with Serbia, closed soon after the migrants started to arrive in Croatia 10 days ago, remain closed.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic had said Croatia would lift the restrictions but warned he might bring them back in future.

Read more on:    croatia  |  migrants

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