World Bulletin / News Desk
Slovenia's army began on Wednesday rolling out razor wire along the border with Croatia, an AFP reporter said, in a move the government says will help it better manage the influx of refugees.
Slovenia last month suddenly found itself on the Balkans route taken by thousands of refugees heading to northern Europe after Hungary sealed its borders with Croatia and Serbia.
More than 170,000 passing have passed through the small EU member state of two million people since mid-October, all but a handful heading for Austria and beyond.
Prime Minister Miro Cerar had announced on Tuesday that Ljubljana planned to build "obstacles" along parts of its frontier with Croatia, an outer border of Europe's passport-free Schengen zone.
"These obstacles, including fences if needed, will have the objective of directing refugees towards the border crossings. We are not closing our borders," Cerar had told a news conference.
An AFP reporter near the Gibina border-crossing point in north-eastern Slovenia said that soldiers were erecting two vertical rolls of the razor wire to about shoulder-height across fields at the rate of around 100 metres (yards) per hour.
Media reports said that troops were also installing a razor-wire barrier on the banks of a river near Obrezjein southern Slovenia, just across the border fromZagreb, and that there were plans to erect another one at a third location.
Cerar had said that the measures were aimed at avoiding a "humanitarian disaster" caused by an expected sharp rise in refugee numbers this week following a recent dip.
He also said Austria -- the next country along on the refugee trail -- was planning to restrict the daily number of new arrivals to 6,000, creating a backlog inSlovenia.
Austria expects a record 95,000 asylum claims this year, an official said Wednesday, but the government has so far not announced that it will limit the number of refugee entries.
But its squabbling coalition government is discussing similar measures along the border with Slovenia, with a decision now expected on Friday, an official said Wednesday.
Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic on Wednesday labelled Slovenia's barrier an "unneccessary waste of money".
"No wire can prevent refugees from finding their path (to desired destinations)... It would have been more better to build reception centres, temporary shelters as Croatia did," state TV HRT quoted Ostojic as saying.
Slovenia's actions came as European leaders were due to meet African counterparts in Malta to discuss the refugee crisis, which has driven a wedge between member states and boosted populist parties.Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Kasım 2015, 15:20