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Croatia, Serbia lift border restrictions

Croatia on Friday lifted its border restrictions with Serbia, which had been imposed to curb the influx of thousands of migrants, Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said.



Zagreb: Croatia on Friday lifted its border restrictions with Serbia, which had been imposed to curb the influx of thousands of migrants, Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said.

Several hours later, the Serbian government of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic also decided to cancel measures that Belgrade had introduced barring the entry of all trucks carrying Croatian licence plates or Croatian goods.

"The border was unblocked at 5:00 pm (1500 GMT). All cars, regardless of their registration plates ... can now enter Croatia," Ostojic said on Twitter.

Vucic responded in turn with a statement saying: "From this moment on, vehicles registered in Croatia and those transporting Croat goods can enter Serbia at all border posts.

"Reason has won out," it said.

The announcements came after the European Commission sought urgent "clarifications" from Croatia over the curbs, which escalated into the worst row between the two Balkan neighbours since they fought each other in the 1990s.

Nearly 60,000 migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa have entered Croatia in recent days from Serbia, official figures showed Friday.

The influx started after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia earlier this month.

EU member Croatia said it was unable to cope with the influx and began transporting the new arrivals to its border with Hungary.

And it told Serbia to start re-directing the refugees and migrants towards Hungary and Romania, halting border traffic to try to put pressure on Belgrade.

On Friday, a Croatian interior ministry statement confirmed Ostojic`s tweet, saying traffic could now flow "without restrictions" at the key Bajakovo-Batrovci crossing as well as at nearby Tovarnik.

The other six crossings into Serbia were shut soon after the migrants began arriving. They remain closed.

Earlier Friday Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic had said Croatia would lift the restrictions but warned he might bring them back in future.

From Zee News

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