The Croatian Ministry of the Interior and police agencies from Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed at a meeting in Sarajevo on Thursday to strengthen cooperation in combating illegal migration, including better coordination and data exchange, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
"Our task is to improve cooperation in all our areas of activity on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially after a recent meeting between the Croatian minister of the interior and the security minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This primarily relates to improving the readmission system and joint patrols, without the intention of Bosnia and Herzegovina becoming a hotspot for illegal migrants," the Croatian deputy chief of police, Jozo Suker, said.
He asked the Bosnian partners for all the necessary assistance in investigating allegations of human rights violations and unlawful treatment of migrants by Croatian border police.
Bosnian border police chief Zoran Galic said that new models of cooperation were needed in addressing the growing migratory pressure on the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours.
He said that last year Bosnian border police had stopped 13,251 people from entering the country illegally, but added that the police could no longer cope with the growing pressure from migrants, all the more so because one police officer guards 25 kilometres of the border.
"That's why we are doing all we can and are setting new models of cooperation to act as effectively as possible in dealing with illegal migration," Galic said.
Slobodan Ujic, the head of the Service for Foreigners' Affairs, said that Bosnia and Herzegovina honoured the readmission agreement with Croatia.
"More than 85 percent of applications sent by Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina have been granted," Ujic said, adding that the summary readmission procedure with Croatia was well functioning and that they were planning to use this model in cooperation with Serbia and Montenegro.
Five thermal vision cameras and 198 sets of police equipment to be donated to Bosnia.
Earlier on Thursday, the government in Zagreb decided to donate police equipment to Bosnia and Herzegovina following requests by the country's authorities for assistance in tackling growing cross-border crime. Croatia will donate five thermal vision cameras and 198 sets of equipment.
Later on Thursday, Bosnia's security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic thanked Croatia for the donation, saying that it would help make the Bosnian police agencies more efficient.