Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, UN.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Ured predsjednice/ ua

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, who was attending a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, said on Tuesday that in the event of a new migrant tide her country could not let refugees pass through its territory given that the borders of Croatia's neighbours were closed and Croatia must protect its territory as well as help all those in need.

President Grabar-Kitarovic said that last year Croatia had let migrants pass through it while other countries, that is Slovenia and Hungary, had no barriers along their frontiers with Croatia, however, those frontiers were now shut.

"I do not think that we rose to the occasion (last year), and generally nobody catered for those people. It has been established that 85% of them were economic migrants and not refugees in the real sense."

"What about those who have remained in Syria? We have shown hypocrisy in all of that, and I believe that a little more responsibility should be demonstrated," Grabar-Kitarovic told Croatian reporters who were covering the UN General Assembly's work.

She underscored the importance of Europe's common response.

Without agreement with the countries that are crucial when it comes to messages to migrants that have started arriving in Europe and without our agreed response, it will be very difficult. Nevertheless, we must prepare ourselves as we have to be prepared to protect our territory and border as well as to help all who need our help, the Croatian president said.

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