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Switzerland and Bosnia sign repatriation and transport agreements

Ruth Metzler hopes the agreement will stop illegal immigration from Bosnia.

(EJPD / Ch. Beneke)

Switzerland and Bosnia have signed bilateral agreements on road transport and the repatriation of their citizens. The Bosnian foreign minister, Jadranko Prlic, put his name to the accords during a visit to Bern on Friday.

The justice minister, Ruth Metzler, signed the repatriation document earlier in the week, paving the way for the forcible return of citizens with no right of residence in either Switzerland or Bosnia.

Switzerland has similar agreements with Bosnia's neighbours, the Yugoslav Federation and Croatia.

The justice ministry said it hoped the accord would put an end to illegal immigration from Bosnia.

After talks with Metzler on issues including asylum and help for people displaced by the Bosnian war, Prlic met his Swiss counterpart, Joseph Deiss, and signed a road transport accord.

The foreign ministry said the agreement - which relates to the transport of people and goods - would improve economic relations and exchanges between the two countries.

Prlic is the first Bosnian government member to visit Switzerland since Bosnia became independent five years ago. During his talks with Deiss, he thanked Switzerland for its help to the country amounting to SFr235 million ($136 million)over a five-year period.

Deiss said Switzerland had given Bosnia SFr15 million this year, and a further SFr50 million would be paid out over the next three years.

swissinfo with agencies

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