Geneva, 25 November 2009 – Interior Minister and First Deputy PM Ivica Dačić met in Geneva today with UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

The two discussed problems related to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Serbia.

Guterres said that the UNHCR has excellent cooperation with the Serbian government, adding that the economic crisis cannot be a reason for this UN agency to “forget the people from the Balkan wars”, the Serbian Interior Ministry stated.

He informed Dačić about the problems that the UNHCR is facing as far as internally displaced persons are concerned, because the UN does not recognize the Kosovo government, and these persons do not have the status of refugees.

“That is why it is not easy to find a solution for their problems, as in the case of refugees,” the statement said.

The UNHCR works very actively in trying to find solutions related to property rights, pensions and other issues relevant to the IDPs, which they are entitled to by law. The organization is also looking into possibilities for their return, it was stated.

Guterres said that the Serbian government should focus its program on solving the problems of the Roma.

He praised a regional conference held in Belgrade regarding refugees, which the UNHCR is contributing to fully.

Dačić thanked Guterres for the support of the UHNCR in solving the problems of refugees and returnees, especially on the issue of property and housing rights.

He said that it is important for the UNHCR to participate in dialogue with the Croatian government for the return of Serb refugees to its territory and achieving all of their rights.

Guterres said that the problems of refugees must be solved and that the collective centers must be closed, since it is “unacceptable in the 21st century for Europe to tolerate unresolved refugees problems on the continent”.

Source: Tanjug/B92