Speaking at a UN summit on refugees in New York on Monday, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that the summit was being held at the right time because large movements of people were a global phenomenon that could not be prevented and that was not affecting only Europe.  

The summit on large movements of refugees and migrants, at which Grabar-Kitarovic co-chaired a round table discussion on a global agreement on sharing responsibility for refugees and respect for international law, was held ahead of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly. 

It is important that all UN countries assume their share of responsibility for global commitments and that they look for sensible answers. The issue of refugees continues to be one of a humanitarian nature but its dimensions are much larger because the global crisis is a political, economic, development, social and legal crisis and concerns human rights, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

She said that conflicts were only one of the causes of the crisis and possibly the only one the international community could prevent on time, while poverty, lack of education and climate change continued to be long-term tasks.

Despite the progress Croatia, the EU and partners have achieved since last autumn in developing strategies and solutions to curb the migrant crisis and to finance and manage it, the main problem has still not been solved, she said.

Croatia has spent EUR 20 million on aid for refugees. That money could have been used to help those faced with dangerous situations, for conflict prevention and for the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, she said, calling for preventing dangerous journeys refugees embark on in search of a better life.

At the first UN summit on migrants on Monday, all 193 UN member states adopted by consensus a declaration on closer international cooperation and respect for migrant and refugee rights, however, the document does not contain any specific commitments.

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