PM says government at highest possible level of alert

Closing borders and erecting fences will not save Croatia and prevent things like the terrorist attack in Paris from happening, but the government is now at its highest level of alert and a session of security services is called for noon today, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said told a news conference on Saturday, called following the terror attacks in Paris.

"Heinous, coordinated, clearly terrorist attacks whose perpetrators are not yet know have shaken Europe and the world," and they are "a blow to the fundamental human values," the prime minister said expressing "saddness, grief and solidarity with the great French nation, the cradle of many freedoms and principles on which Europe rests,"

"Closing borders and erecting fences will not save us or prevent things like this from happening," Milanovic said and added: "We are at the highest possible level of alert and readiness to protect our citizens."

The prime minister said he had spoken with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, adding that a session of services, led by him and Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic, had been called for noon.

Zagreb is in contact with all allies and with Croatia Airlines so as to secure the immediate transfer of all Croatian citizens from Paris who wish to leave at this moment and for now there is no information whether Croatian citizens are among the 128 who have died in Paris in a wave of coordinated gun and suicide bomb attacks.

The government also released telephone numbers at which Croatian citizens can obtain information about their relatives in Paris. The numbers are +385 1 4569 964 as well as the numbers of the Croatian Embassy in Paris +33 1 5370 02 80 and +33 78 52 44 533.

Milanovic said he hoped Zagreb would not have to back down from its strategy in the migrant crisis, reiterating however that "the priority is to protect the safety of Croatian citizens,"

"This is our main task, followed by universal human values that are greater that European values, this is why we are in the European Union and NATO," he said.

After reporters insisted on the question whether or not Croatia was considering closing its border, Milanovic said "there are no clear answers at this moment,"

He is confident Croatia can "protect itself more easily than others," because it is "a smaller country, less exposed and a minor player" and because "we choose our words, we send out messages of religious tolerance."

"Be calm, however we must keep our eyes open because the world we live in is brutal and violent," Milanovic said adding that there was "no room for dejection and fear."

He dismissed possible linking of the current migrant crisis and the terrorism attacks in Paris.

Asked what should happen for Croatia to close its border to refugees, Milanovic recalled that attacks took place in Paris nearly a year ago when there was no migrant crisis.

He reiterated that migrants were entering through Grrece and that this is where the problem should be handled. For now there is no answer to the question "why have France and Paris been attacked."

Milanovic also sent a letter to French President Francois Hollande, extending his deepest condolences to the French people.

Last update: Sat, 14/11/2015 - 15:35
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