Minister Surprised with President’s Decision to Skip Migration Conference

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ZAGREB, November 2, 2018 – The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will advance cooperation between states in regular migration and not increase the migrant flow, as suggested by Croatia’s far right, Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Friday, adding that she was surprised by announcements that President Grabar-Kitarović would not attend a conference in Marrakesh where that document should be adopted.

The Global Compact is a catalogue of measures and not an agreement, it is not legally binding for UN member states and every state has the sovereign right to choose from it the set of measures suiting its situation, the minister said at a press conference called in the wake of media reports that Croatia’s far right sees the document as contentious as the Istanbul Convention which Croatia ratified this year.

“The Global Compact represents a catalogue of measures defined in line with the goals of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which are aimed at advancing cooperation between states in dealing with regular migration,” Pejčinović Burić said, adding that no state could resolve the migration issue alone.

She said the Global Compact was the result of the international community’s attempts to formulate a document which would encompass the best practices and measures for managing regular migration, helping to reduce migration pressures. Since it is not legally binding, “there is absolutely no obligation to accept migrants,” the minister said, adding that any insinuations that the document would lead to uncontrolled migration were absolutely unfounded.

The minister recalled that the drafting of the Global Compact began with the adoption of the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was endorsed by 193 UN member states, including Croatia, which was represented by President Grabar-Kitarović at the forum in question.

The president underlined the importance of that document at this year’s UN General Assembly meeting, the minister said, citing the president’s speech. The president said on that occasion that the successful completion of negotiations on the Global Compact for the Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was an “important step in the right direction to effectively deal with this challenge.”

“We believe that this catalogue of targeted measures and best practices can guide us in searching for the best solutions in a more coordinated manner and with a better outcome. I look forward to our meeting in Marrakech in December and commend all the efforts of the UN Special Representative Louise Arbour,” the president said then.

“According to official information, the president confirmed to the UN secretary-general that she would attend already in August, so we are surprised by the announcement that she will not attend the Marrakesh conference,” said Pejčinović Burić.

Inter-departmental consultations are under way in Croatia on a draft conclusion on this document and the final conference in Marrakesh, at the level of heads of state and government, is aimed at politically confirming the common will to improve cooperation in line with the understanding reached in the Global Compact, she added.

If you are interested in how the migration crisis is affecting Croatia, read here.

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