Hungary, Poland see anti-immigration stance spreading in EU

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hold a joint news conference in Budapest on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
0

Hungary, Poland see anti-immigration stance spreading in EU

BUDAPEST: The prime ministers of Hungary and Poland said Wednesday their countries’ anti-immigration policies are gaining strength within the 28-nation European Union.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, making his first bilateral visit since assuming office in December, and his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban, pointed to Austria, where conservative and nationalist parties formed a coalition government last month.
“Democracy has been restored in Austria because the Austrians who reject immigration elected a government which also does not want immigration,” Orban said. “This will be the case everywhere in Europe and I believe it is only a matter of time.”
Morawiecki said the immigration issue, which he called a matter of national sovereignty, was “getting even hotter” in the EU “and it seems that it is going in our direction.”
The two leaders again rejected EU efforts to resettle refugees among members of the bloc, while emphasizing their contributions to rebuilding efforts in the Middle East aimed at keeping more people at home.
“The EU’s immigration policy is not working. What is more, it is not only not working but it has failed spectacularly,” Orban said. “It is clear that the European people don’t want immigration, while several European leaders are still forcing the failed immigration policy.”
Poland is facing possible sanctions from the EU because of its perceived erosion of democratic principles, including recent steps increasing government control of the judiciary. While Orban has vowed to block any punitive measures against Poland by the EU, neither leader mentioned the issue during their news conference in the Hungarian Parliament.


15 militants killed in anti-terrorist operation in Mali: army

Updated 57 min 27 sec ago
0

15 militants killed in anti-terrorist operation in Mali: army

  • Mali has seen a resurgence of violence in recent weeks.
  • The UN Mission in Mali has 12,000 peacekeepers in the country.

Bamako: Fifteen militants have been killed in an anti-terrorist operation in central Mali, the Malian army said on Saturday, adding that one soldier died and two others were injured.
The “terrorists” were “neutralized, their weapons recovered and their motorbikes destroyed” during Friday’s mission in the Tina forest in the Mopti region, the army said in a statement.
The army “suffered one death and two injuries.”
Mali has seen a resurgence of violence in recent weeks. Last Sunday a UN base in the historic city of Timbuktu was attacked by rocket fire and car bombs, killing one UN peacekeeper and wounding seven others.
Last month the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) expressed “deep concern” over an increase in “serious violations and human rights abuses against civilians, including cases of summary execution” in the center of the country, where terrorist groups are particularly active.
MINUSMA, which has 12,000 peacekeepers in Mali, said it had recorded at least 85 major violent incidents and armed confrontations that resulted in at least 180 civilian victims since the beginning of the year.
The unrest in the former French colony stems from a 2012 Tuareg separatist uprising against the state, which was exploited by extremists in order to take over key cities in the north.
Although French forces succeeded in removing Al-Qaeda-linked groups from places such as Timbuktu, the groups have morphed into more nimble formations operating in rural areas, sometimes winning over local populations by providing basic services and protection from bandits.
The insurgency has gradually spread to the country’s center, where local grievances are sometimes exploited by radical Islamists in a region awash with guns.
In June 2015, Mali’s government signed a peace agreement with some armed groups, but other militants remain active, and large tracts of the country remain lawless.