The Latest: Czech Republic ready to accept Iraqi Christians

  • Written by:

BERLIN (AP) — The latest in the odyssey of hundreds of thousands of migrants crossing Europe in search of a new life. All times local.
The Czech prime minister says his government is ready to agree to a proposal to take in 152 Christians who are currently in camps in the Iraqi city of Irbil.
Bohuslav Sobotka says the group were force to flee their homes due to advancing Islamic State extremists in Iraq and their situation is difficult. Sobotka says they approached the Czech Republic with a request for asylum through a non-governmental organization.

Sobotka says Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will present a proposal for the government to accept them after talks scheduled with the United Nations for next week to clarify their status.

He says the government will share the expenses for their moving to the Czech Republic with NGOs.


12:30 p.m.

Romania’s president has called the prime minister for talks about the migrant crisis after the pair traded insults over the situation.

President Klaus Iohannis reprimanded Prime Minister Victor Ponta for meeting the prime ministers of Bulgaria and Serbia in Sofia this weekend where the three agreed they would close their borders to refugees if Germany and Austria decide to close their borders.

Iohannis accused Ponta on Monday of failing to consult him before going to Sofia and becoming increasingly “bellicose” to divert attention from corruption charges against him. Ponta then called Iohannis “a deaf man at a dance.”

Iohannis attended an emergency summit in Brussels on the migrant crisis on Sunday. According to Romania’s constitution, the president is in charge of foreign policy.


12:05 p.m.

Germany’s Interior Ministry says Berlin will send five police officers to Slovenia this week to help prepare a European support deployment for the country’s border guards.

The ministry said Tuesday that the federal police officers will “support the conceptual preparation of the European police deployment,” though Germany is still considering whether to participate in the actual deployment.

European leaders meeting on Sunday decided to dispatch 400 border guards to Slovenia as it struggles to cope with an influx of migrants. The flow was diverted through the tiny Alpine country when Hungary closed its borders.

Germany’s federal police have long participated in international missions abroad and are heavily engaged at present in conducting border checks at home.


11:05 a.m.

The European Union is lashing member countries for dragging their feet on providing funds and experts to help manage Europe’s biggest refugee emergency in decades.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told EU lawmakers Tuesday that “the member states have been moving slowly at a time when they should be running.”

The EU’s border agency Frontex has appealed for 775 experts to help register, screen and fingerprint people arriving in Italy and Greece.

But so far only about half that number has been pledged.

Juncker said that “half is not enough, we need more.”

He said more funds and experts are “crucially essential if we want operational decisions to be implemented,” and warned that the EU is “losing all kinds of credibility.”


11:00 a.m.

French authorities are taking nearly 300 migrants out of a bulging, slum-like camp in Calais and busing them to other regions of France.

The operation Tuesday is aimed at relieving pressure on the port city and the camp, known locally as “the jungle,” which is believed to have doubled in size in recent weeks to as many as 6,000 people.

Months of new security measures and tough warnings from British and French authorities have failed to stop asylum-seekers and others from converging on Calais, from where they hope to sneak across the English Channel to Britain.

The local administration said in a statement that social workers have identified 292 people willing to abandon their effort to reach Britain and apply for asylum in France instead. It said the newcomers will be bused to temporary housing centers from Provence to Brittany and Lorraine.


10:45 a.m.

Germany is considering sending police officers to Slovenia following Sunday’s decision by a summit of European leaders to dispatch 400 border guards to the small Alpine nation as it struggles to cope with the influx of migrants.

The Interior Ministry said Tuesday that Germany’s federal police force, whose responsibilities include guarding borders, is examining possible participation in the deployment.

It didn’t say how many officers might be deployed but noted that federal police are already busy with border checks at home and pointed to an existing pledge to provide 50 extra officers to help the EU border agency, Frontex, in Greece.

The federal police help provide security for German embassies abroad and also have long participated in international missions in countries including Kosovo and Afghanistan.


9:05 a.m.

Bavaria’s governor is pressing Chancellor Angela Merkel to complain to her Austrian counterpart about an uncoordinated flow of migrants toward Germany’s border.

Governor Horst Seehofer, who has been the most prominent domestic critic of Merkel’s decision last month to allow in migrants who had piled up in Hungary, was quoted Tuesday as telling the daily Passauer Neue Presse: “This behavior by Austria is burdening neighborly relations. We can and must not treat each other this way.”

Seehofer said it’s up to Merkel, who made last month’s decision along with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, to speak to the Austrians.

Most migrants who have arrived in Austria from Hungary and more recently Slovenia have simply continued to Germany. All of Germany’s border with Austria is in Bavaria.