Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said in Podgorica on Wednesday that he did not rule out the possibility of Montenegro becoming part of the migrant transit route should his country decide to close its borders.
After all, Montenegro is neither an end destination nor a transit country, Kurz told reporters.
He recalled that Austria would introduce an upper limit, namely a quota for refugee entries, adding that it was evident that his country will be forced to stop the refugee influx at its borders, which could have consequences for the entire region.
Asked if Montenegro would be put at risk if Austria and some other countries in the region close their borders, Kurz said this would have consequences for the entire region, adding that it was possible that countries that had not been part of the transit route so far, could do so now.
He said Montenegro was on that route, and that the possibility of it becoming part of that route had not been ruled out.
Reporters then asked Montenegrin Foreign Minister Igor Luksic if Podgorica had measures in place in case Austria closes its border for migrants and whether it was prepared to honour the redistribution based on quotas set by the European Union. Luksic said Montenegro would adjust its policy to that of the countries in the region and the European Union. He added Montenegro had already prepared an action plan for certain situations.
The Austrian foreign minister underlined that his country nurtured strong relations with Western Balkan countries and Montenegro. Earlier on Wednesday, Kurz held talks with top Montenegrin officials and told them that Austria strongly supported EU membership of all western Balkan countries as well as reforms they were taking on their path to the bloc.