June 2, 2020 / 12:13 PM / a month ago

Bosnia's security minister to resign over migrant dispute

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Bosnia’s security minister announced his resignation on Tuesday over what he called a lack of support in handling a migrant crisis from a government plagued by infighting.

“The reasons are completely a matter of principle,” Fahrudin Radoncic, who heads the centrist SBB party in the nationalist-led coalition government, told a news conference.

“We have a political disagreement,” he said, referring to disputes over how to bar entry to illegal migrants, adding that he would formally resign later in the day.

Last month, Radoncic proposed the deportation of 9,000 illegal migrants from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. His proposal drew sharp criticism from human rights activists and failed to win approval of the multi-party cabinet.

He has accused the Bosnian ambassador in Pakistan of having involvement in the issuing of fake visas and the Pakistani ambassador in Bosnia of failing to help authorities to identify undocumented migrants from Pakistan.

Both ambassadors denied the accusations, and the largest Bosniak party, the SDA, which is Radoncic’s partner at different layers of governance, dismissed his allegations.

Radoncic said he also disagreed with SDA pressure exerted on the judiciary relating to a corruption scandal over the procurement of defective ventilators for coronavirus patients, in which the premier of one of Bosnia’s two autonomous regions, who is an SDA member, is one of the key suspects.

Radoncic said the loose ruling coalition of nationalist Serb, Croat, and Bosniak parties - the nature of the Sarajevo-based central government since the 1990s war - was dysfunctional. “The long-term situation is not optimistic.”

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Aleksandar Vasovic and Mark Heinrich

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