Germany seeks migrant deals with Greece, Italy



MILAN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says talks with Greece on its taking back migrants who previously sought asylum there are well-advanced but similar negotiations with Italy have some way to go.

Germany last week reached an agreement with Spain for Madrid to take back asylum-seekers who previously applied there and then show up at the German-Austrian border. That was a largely symbolic first step toward implementing a deal to defuse a domestic political dispute; Greece and Italy have been bigger sources of migration to Germany.

In June, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer threatened to turn back previously registered migrants unilaterally at the border. Merkel insisted on striking agreements with other countries.

Merkel said Monday she’s prepared to speak with the Greek and Italian leaders if needed but “we haven’t yet reached that point.”

A few dozen people have gathered in the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihac to protest the government’s response to an unprecedented influx of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Protesters who assembled Monday in a square in the center of Bihac accused the state government of intentionally sending migrants to their town without identifying and registering them or providing them with proper accommodation. They reject the claim that Bihac is an obvious gathering place chosen by migrants because of its proximity to the border with Croatia, a member of the European Union.

Thousands of migrants are staying in squalid, makeshift camps in Bihac and the surrounding towns, relying on limited support of the local Red Cross and a couple of international aid agencies.

Over 9,300 migrants have entered Bosnia so far this year.