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Serbians stranded at borders around the world: MFA set up crisis HQ, doing its best to help them

Chaos reigns primarily on the borders of Hungary

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The pandemic of coronavirus has led to chaos at national borders around the world, with many Serbian citizens trapped abroad. As Telegraf.rs has learned, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has formed a crisis HQ in order to assist our citizens abroad.

We reported yesterday about the chaos at the Budapest airport after Hungary closed its borders. A dozen Serbian citizens were stranded for hours as they were unable to enter their country, but with the reaction of the consulate in Budapest, transport was provided for them in the evening.

One of our fellow Serbians who was at the airport in Budapest yesterday was Svetislav Tisma, who arrived from Portugal.

"The Hungarians wanted to transfer us, they demanded that we sign a paper which we did not understand, so we didn't sign it," he said. These passengers were provided transportation in a minibus to the Hungarian border with Serbia, and then another vehicle from our border.

Also, there has been chaos at the Austrian-Hungarian border for almost two days now, as numerous citizens of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine remain trapped in front of Hungary.

Budapest first made the decision to release Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, and today the decision was extended to Serbians as well. The lines at the border were up to 40 kilometers long.

As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has told us, after Covid19 appeared around the world, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic instructed all diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Serbia abroad to make providing assistance and protection to our citizens in endangered areas a priority of their work.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also distributed using all available means a government recommendation to our citizens staying outside of the country to postpone all trips that are not necessary.

"The minister is in touch on a daily basis with his colleagues, foreign ministers, as well as with representatives of international organizations, with whom he is trying to find the fastest solutions to the many problems arising from the restrictive measures that countries are taking to protect themselves against the virus. Most problems are related to the restriction of passenger transport and transport of goods," a statement said.

If you can avoid it, don't return to Serbia now

At the moment, as stated, all necessary consular assistance is being provided to our citizens.

"Following the introduction of restrictive measures by most foreign countries, citizens of the Republic of Serbia found themselves in large numbers in certain destinations without the possibility of continuing their planned trip to the Republic of Serbia. These are citizens who found themselves in foreign countries while on business or tourist trips, for treatment of malignant and other serious illnesses, students, etc. Every effort is being made to solve the problems of our citizens and organize their return if necessary," says the MFA.

At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again urges all citizens not to embark on a trip if they have the opportunity to stay in a foreign country.

Since the introduction of a state of emergency in the Republic of Serbia on March 15, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been engaged in assisting foreign nationals (and their diplomatic and consular offices) who have been caught on their way to their country of origin or at the border when the measure of prohibition of entry/transit via the Republic of Serbia was made.

(N.Z.)

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