UN welcomes efforts to end refugee situation in western Balkans

Refugees from wars in the Balkans

The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has welcomed regional efforts to end the protracted refugee situation in the western Balkan region, in south east Europe.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia on Monday signed a joint declaration in Belgrade to speed up solutions for the 74,000 remaining refugees from the crisis of 1991 to 1995.

UNHCR led a major relief operation during the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. With more than two million people uprooted in the region, it was the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

UNHCR's Adrian Edwards says the agreement has come about through intense efforts by the four countries.

"UNHCR welcomes this declaration. It has come about through intense efforts by the four countries, and is a firm commitment on the part of their respective governments to cooperate at regional and national level in dealing with an enduring problem for this part of Europe. Displacement in the western Balkans is one of the five priority protracted refugee situations worldwide for UNHCR."

Duration: 21″

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