– Sept.18: Croatia has closed seven of its eight border crossings with Serbia overwhelmed by a huge surge of refugees turned away by Hungary. PM said Croatia will not accept or accommodate asylum seekers any longer.
Some of the refugees appear to be stuck on the border between Croatia and Hungary. Reuters reported on Thursday that a convoy of more than 10 buses which was heading towards the Croatian city of Osijek was turned towards the Hungarian border. Refugees were offloaded at the Croatian border village Beremend, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. Hundreds of migrants were also witnessed on Friday at a petrol station by a road in the Croatian border town of Beli Manastir.
Scuffles between refugees erupted on Friday at the Croatian Beli Monastir train station as the people were boarding the trains bound for Zagreb. Some were injured and received first aid.
Some were injured and received first aid.
Dozens of refugees staged a silent sit-in protest at the Serbian-Hungarian border near the town of Horgos on Friday. They held placards which read: “We don’t have houses anymore. We will live here,” and “This is shame for Europe.”
The site was a scene of violence on Tuesday, when police used water cannon and teargas to push back refugees attempting to enter Hungary.
Milanovic said on Friday he has called a session of Croatia’s National Security Council. Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told N1 Television that “it’s a matter of time” before Croatia closes all borders.
Columns of asylum seekers were expected to turn to Slovenia, however the Interior Ministry said on Friday that Slovenia does not intend to open a corridor for the refugees heading to Western Europe to pass through.
“At the moment we have no basis on which we could form a corridor,” Interior Ministry state secretary Bostjan Sefic told reporters.
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#AceGuestNews – May 10 – (RFERL) – Having seen decades of war and violence, Omer Karabeg knows the transformative power of words. For 20 years, through his program “The Bridge,” he has sought to forge a dialogue among representatives of the former Yugoslavia’s different political, ethnic, and religious groups, whose views on his carefully chosen, contentious topics often could not be more at odds.
Karabeg’s guests run the gamut from hard-line politicians to political moderates to academics and cultural figures. While his pairings are often daring, he always insists on a civil discussion and mutual respect, qualities that are scarce in the region’s mainstream media.
Arbana Vidishiqi, RFE/RL’s Kosovo Bureau Chief, remembered how in 2002, with the wounds of the Kosovo war still raw, Karabeg gathered influential Kosovo Albanians and Serbs in a face-to-face round-table discussion in Pristina.
“That was so rare at that time, just after the war, to see those two sides talking,” said Vidishiqi. “What was especially interesting was to see these former [Albanian] guerilla fighters talking with Serbs even during the breaks.” Over the course of two decades, “The Bridge” has broadcast more than 800 such dialogues involving more than 1,500 participants.
The 30-minute weekly program began as a radio show and is now also recorded as a Skype broadcast for on-line audiences. On many occasions, the show has broken barriers between figures across political and ethnic divides who have then continued their dialogue in follow-up meetings off the air. Excerpts and quotes from the dialogues are regularly reprinted in high-circulation national newspapers throughout the region.
Much has changed since the first broadcast of “The Bridge” in April 1994 which, at the height of the Yugoslav war, focused on how to start the process of reconciliation between the Serb minority and the Croatian majority in Croatia. At that time, much of the former Yugoslavia was separated not only by ideology, but by violence, blocked roads, and broken telephone lines.
But Karabeg says some divides persist. “The most difficult combination to have on the show is nationalists, of course,” he said. “Nationalists don’t like discussion, they like monologues. They usually don’t change their minds after the show, but at least they talk; at least it gives them something to think about later.”
Originally from Bosnia-Herzegovina Karabeg is a veteran journalist who, before joining RFE/RL in 1994 in the early days of the Balkan Service (then known as the South Slavic Service), was a popular prime-time national TV news anchor in Belgrade.
He left Belgrade after refusing to broadcast nationalist propaganda during the war, an act of defiance for which he was called a traitor on national TV by government officials. Karabeg is the winner of the 2010 Erhard Busek South East Europe Media Award for Better Understanding in South East Europe.
He received the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia’s Jug Grizelj Award for promoting friendship and overcoming barriers between the people in the region. He has published selected dialogues from “The Bridge” in two books: “Bridge of Dialogue: Conversations Despite the War,” and “Dialogue on the Powder Keg, Serbian-Albanian Dialogue.”
While Karabeg has seen much progress in the region, he says the deepest rifts remain in Bosnia, where dialogue between politicians from the two main ethnic entities carved out in the Dayton Accords has broken down. “Each side has its own media where the politicians can go on and say whatever they want with no one to challenge them when they lie,” he said.
He added that separatist rhetoric has intensified in Bosnia since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, and that the international community must stay engaged there to keep the dialogue going.
” As the saying goes,” Karabeg said, “It’s better to have 1,000 days of talking than to have war for even one day.”
Courtesy and by Emily Thompson of her News and Views – Radio Free Europe
#AceWorldNews – BELGRADE – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on Friday thanked Russia and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev for helping Serbia cope with the powerful floods that are hitting its central and western regions.
“Serbia and the Serbian people will always remember Russia’s self-sacrificing and timely aid. They highly appreciate this gesture as a proof of genuine friendship between the two peoples,” Vucic wrote in his letter quoted by his press service.
Vucic extended his personal gratitude to Medvedev for timely aid.
“I would like to extend my cordial gratitude for the help which the Russian government had given to Serbia in time of need,” the Serbian prime minister went on to say.
The Serbia government has lifted the state of emergency which was introduced on May 15 over floods in the country.
The death toll reached 33 people, ITAR-TASS reported.
Authorities are planning to focus on reconstruction of energy sector, highways and railways.
The damage is estimated at 0.64 percent of the country’s GDP or 174.5 million euro.
During the floods, nearly 32,000 people were evacuated, 1,763 buildings were destroyed or are under threat of destruction.
Thirty bridges were totally destroyed and 50 big bridges were damaged.
RT – TASS – SERBIAN NEWS – MOSCOW TIMES
#AceNewsServices – BALKANS – May 19 – Approximately 25,070 people have been evacuated from flooded areas in Serbia, including 7,800 from Obrenovac, 40 kilometers west from Belgrade, which is the most affected by the disaster, Interior Ministry announced today.
“The thermal power plants “Kostolac” and “Te-Ko B” are not flooded, personnel is ready and generation of electricity is under control”, Ministry added in the statement.
In floods that are affecting Serbia since last week at least 17 people have died. According to some media speculations, which have been rebuffed by the government, there are more than one hundred casualties only in Obrenovac.
According to official figures, there were 12 casualties in Obrenovac with more than 7,800 people evacuated. In 2011 the municipality had a total population of 71,419.
The whole town is flooded and evacuated.
The Interior ministry stated that the situation is “especially difficult” in Krupanj, Sremska Raca and Jamen, all towns in the west of the country. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic arrived in Krupanj today and delivered help to the citizens.
Nikolic’s media adviser Stanislava Pak said there are casualties in Krupanj municipality.
Crisis staff are not up to the task.
The citizens are upset and they have the right to express their dissatisfaction”, Pak told Beta news agency.
Predrag Maric, head of emergency situations sector, said that “rumours and half-truths are directed to provoke panic and distrust”.
“For two days we are appealing to people to evacuate themselves, but they did not want to… The siren has been turned on… People have been called on evacuation, but they have refused to do so, two days before this (flood) happened”, Maric told B92 television.
“Serbia can count on one billion EUR from the European Union solidarity fund, in order to overcome long-term consequences of disastrous floods”, Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response said today.
Read More at: IBNA