SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s migrant crisis (all times local):
Austrian police say they have found 22 asylum-seekers from Iraq and Syria in a van near the country’s eastern border.
Police in Burgenland province said the Romanian-registered van was stopped Tuesday evening at Rattersdorf, on the border with Hungary.
Soldiers who stopped the vehicle found 13 men, two women and a roughly 3-year-old boy from Iraq inside the vehicle, as well as six men from Syria. None of them were carrying identity papers and all of them immediately asked for asylum.
Police said Thursday that the 40-year-old Romanian driver was arrested and the van seized.
Slovakia has joined the list of countries opting out of a United Nations pact seeking to promote an international approach to safe and orderly migration.
The government rejected the U.N. pact on Wednesday, a week after the country’s parliament did the same, saying it’s not in line with the country’s policies on migration and security.
Austria, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Switzerland and Australia are among the countries that have dropped their support for the deal and said they won’t attend the meeting in Marrakech, Morocco on Dec. 10-11 to formally approve the compact.
Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini says his government will send its objections to the deal by diplomatic mail.
Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak has announced his resignation from his post last week over his disagreement with his country’s negative stance on the deal. President Andrej Kiska has not accepted his resignation yet.
Bulgaria’s government says the country will not sign a global pact to promote safe and orderly migration.
The government’s press office said in a Wednesday statement: “At this stage, the Bulgarian government believes that the decision not to join the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration protects to the fullest extent the interests of the country and its citizens.”
The agreement, which won’t be legally binding, was finalized under United Nations auspices in July. It is due to be formally approved at a Dec. 11-12 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.
Bulgaria’s government plans to vote “abstained” during the final approval of the pact in the U.N. General Assembly.
Bulgaria has sealed off its border with Turkey with a barbed wire fence to halt the influx of illegal crossings.
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