angela merkel.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed fear that closure of the German borders to refugees might cause new armed conflicts in the Balkans.

If Germany closes its border with Austria, there will be divisions in the Balkans, Merkel was quoted by German media on Tuesday as saying at a meeting of her CDU party in Darmstadt on Monday evening.

Merkel said that out of fear of renewed conflicts in the Balkans and because of the tensions caused by the river of refugees, she had initiated a recent EU-level conference on the so-called Balkan migration route.

I did it because I don't want a recurrence of armed conflicts there, she explained.

Merkel said that the closure of the borders by Hungary and the rerouting of refugees via Croatia and Slovenia had shown that it takes little to cause tension and conflict.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but this goes faster than we think. A quarrel leads to a conflict and that can lead to something that no one wants, Merkel said, explaining her policy of openness to refugees and why she thought it would be wrong for Germany to close its borders, as demanded by some sections of her party.

Merkel said that the task of Germany as the largest EU member was to find a humane solution to the refugee crisis. I'm quite certain that we can achieve that, she concluded.

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