vesna pusic
Photograph: Vlada.hr

The Slovenian authorities have refused a proposal by Croatia to conduct joint registration of refugees on board Croatian trains taking them to Slovenia, Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said on Friday.

She said that the Slovenian authorities were faced with a situation that was difficult for them to cope with. "It's only natural. The same thing happened to us at the beginning," Pusic told reporters after a reception for foreign diplomats held on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, adding that that was why Croatia had offered help to the neighbouring country.

"We have suggested that the Slovenian police, together with our police, should register (migrants) on trains travelling from Tovarnik to the border with Slovenia. Those are passenger trains, they travel a long time and half if not more people can be registered for the duration of the journey," Pusic said, adding that it would reduce pressure on Slovenian administrative procedures.

"They have realised themselves that you can't keep those people there for four or five days," she said.

"The situation is clear. How many people enter Macedonia from Greece is how many people will be on the Croatian and then on the Slovenian border in the following 24 or 48 hours. That's why talking about quotas is useless ... one should rather cooperate and make arrangements," she added.

The Slovenian side has refused the assistance for now but the offer is still on the table, she stressed.

Commenting on Slovenia's accusations that Croatia was behaving in a non-European fashion in the migrant crisis and sending crowds of migrants to its border deliberately and dispersedly, Pusic said that those accusations were "ridiculous and pointless."

"We do not produce those migrants neither can they disappear into thin air in Croatia," she said.

The Croatian and Serbian ministers of the interior, Ranko Ostojic and Nebojsa Stefanovic respectively, agreed on Friday that refugees and migrants trying to reach Western European countries via Serbia and Croatia would be transported by Croatian Railway trains which they would board in Sid, Serbia, close to the border with Croatia.

Pusic welcomed the agreement. "It is good that we have managed to agree and I think that that is so because Croatia does not expect that some of the migrants will disappear in Serbia. The number of people that enter Serbia is the same number that will arrive in Croatia, that is clear. We, too, could make a scene of that but it would be irrational behaviour," she said.

Pusic also underlined that Serbia would have to build reception centres. "They do not have to be anything grandiose, but they will have to provide shelter to (migrants)," she said.

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