Croat official accuses Serbia of "humanitarian catastrophe"

Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic has accused Serbia of "creating a humanitarian catastrophe" regarding refugees.

Source: B92, Tanjug, N1

Ostojic spoke with Serbian Minister of Trade Rasim Ljajic on TV N1 when he stated that Serbia was not able to solve problems and to prevent "the trucker rebellion at the border".

He was referring to a protest launched last night by truck drivers who have been stranded at the border for days due to Croatia's decision to block cargo traffic.

"You have to change the rhetoric. Stop telling empty stories, you are creating a humanitarian catastrophe, and that's the last thing I expected from you," said Ostojic.

He "urged Serbia to do the minimum, and this is not to torture refugees" - and "start controlling the situation and transport refugees to the border with Hungary, as well."

"Our prime minister has offered assistance in resources and with transportation," said Ostojic.

The Croatian minister, who has been making other strong-worded statements in the past days, said that the crossing Batrovci will remain closed "despite the ultimatum from Belgrade - and for as that as long as columns of refugees are being directed toward Croatia."

Rasim Ljajic said Serbia had no "deal" with Hungary, while refugees from third countries entering the country "have the right to go wherever they want," and that Serbia "has had more problems than Croatia."

"I understand Ostojic, because the election campaign is under way in Croatia and there is no other logic except a political one for such attitude and decisions. We are hoping for a compromise, but we will not allow anyone to lecture us," said Ljajic.

The minister added that "Europe has no solution to the crisis that has not been contributed to by either Serbia, Croatia or Hungary, which are currently only transit countries."

Ljajic "did not want to say what countermeasures could be introduced" if there is no agreement between Serbia and Croatia by midnight today, but stressed that they would be directed only towards Croatia, and not towards other EU member states. He in this way responded to the statement of Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic that Belgrade cannot take any action against his country - "because it is a member of the union."

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