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April, 2017

 

Turkey – Government Crackdown, Purges 3,900 Civil Service And Military Officials And Bans TV Dating Shows

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Turkey has sacked almost 4,000 people from the civil service and the military, in the second major purge since President Erdogan was granted sweeping new powers. It appears to be the latest crackdown linked to last July’s failed coup, after the government announced the officials had been fired for suspected links to ‘terrorist organisations and structures… Read More


The Heads Of The U.S. Military Are Addressing PTSD And TBI Issues

Service Experts Discuss Progress In Recognizing, Treating PTSD and TBI

WASHINGTON, — Heads of military centers and programs targeting post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in service members and their families reported progress in the timely recognition and treatment of these and related health conditions.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee on Defense Department clinical research and program assessment for PTSD and TBI were Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mike Colston, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and Air Force Col. (Dr.) Steven Pflanz, deputy director of psychological health for the Air Force.

Joining them on the panel were Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Chris Ivany, chief of behavioral health in the Army Office of the Surgeon General, and Navy Capt. (Dr.) Thomas Johnson, site director for the Navy Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Emphasis on Prevention

Colston began the testimony by noting that last year about a quarter of service members were seen for PTSD, TBI or a mental health condition. “We made PTSD and TBI leadership issues with an emphasis on prevention,” he said, describing recent progress.

PTSD incidents decreased from 17,000 to 14,000 from 2012 to 2015, and TBI incidents decreased from 31,000 to 23,000 over the period, he said. The center expanded access to care by tripling its mental health infrastructure since 2001, and a recent Rand study found that DoD outperforms civilian health systems in outpatient follow-up after psychiatric inpatient care for PTSD or depression, Colston told the panel.

“One of our largest tasks is better understanding why PTSD and TBI often present with depression, chronic pain, substance-use disorders and suicide risk,” he said, noting that longitudinal research efforts such as a 15-year study on TBI aid understanding and provide a framework for creating effective rehabilitation and support programs.

“We’ve evaluated over 150 mental health, TBI, substance-use and suicide-prevention programs over the past five years, [and] this program evaluation has been invaluable,” Colston said.

“Publication of this five-year study will be completed later this fiscal year and will help us … [ensure] our funding is tied to programs that work, such as the U.S. Army’s embedded behavioral health program and its associated health data portal,” he added.

In 2015, there were more 52,000 overdose deaths in America. Opiate overdose deaths went up to 10.4 per 100,000 in 2015. The DoD rate was 2.7 for 100,000, about one-fourth of that. This was accomplished because leaders were focused on service members’ well-being and a focused outcome-based effort on prevention — primary prevention, selective prevention and indicative prevention, drug testing, provider training, pharmacy protections and medication therapies, Colston told the panel.

“We hope to generalize some of the successes we’ve seen in PTSD and TBI incidents and opioid-overdose deaths in other areas such as suicide prevention and alcohol-use disorders,” he said.

Extensive Screening

In his remarks, Pflanz said all Air Force mental health providers receive training in one or more of the several evidence-based therapies for PTSD, and all airmen can be confident that they will receive state-of-the-art treatment when they enter an Air Force mental health clinic.

Fortunately, Pflanz added, PTSD and TBI rates remain low among airmen.

“Even so,” he said, “we’re excited about the successful translation of research into clinical practice including requiring evidence-based therapies for PTSD, event-driven protocols for recognizing TBI, and the use of progressive return activity in the management of concussion.”

Other developments that help identify and manage these conditions include integrating behavioral health care into primary care clinics, embedding mental health professionals into operational units within highly stressed career fields, and comprehensive screening for PTSD and TBI following deployments and throughout an airmen’s career, he said.

On the horizon, Pflanz added, the Invisible Wounds Clinic being established at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in 2018 will powerfully enhance PTSD and TBI treatments and will function as a referral center and a projection of treatment and expertise Air Force-wide.

“A multidisciplinary task force is identifying and resolving gaps in the continuum of care and the integrated delivery evaluation system for airmen suffering from invisible wounds,” he said, noting that work is underway on 27 solutions ranging from education and training to culture and policy that will translate directly to improved services for the airmen.

Essential to Readiness

In his remarks to the panel, Ivany said health care is essential to readiness, which is the Army’s first priority. No area has faced as many challenges, made as many changes and achieved as many advances as Army behavioral health care, he told the House members.

“Early in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army realized that the size and the organization of our behavioral health force was insufficient to meet the needs of our beneficiaries,” Ivany said. Officials greatly increased resources and expanded the number of clinical programs, he added.

Senior Army medical leaders also made a pivotal decision to centralize the oversight and direction of all clinical programs and built a small team of professionals in the surgeon general’s office to do so, he said. The team analyzed the effectiveness of clinical programs, identified best practices and replicated them across the force. From this process came embedded behavioral health, which has reduced barriers to care for soldiers in combat units, and improved access and readiness.

“Today, over 450 providers in 62 embedded behavioral health teams support every operational unit in the Army,” Ivany said, noting that soldiers receive care earlier and need less hospitalization to receive treatment.

Other innovations such as school behavioral health were drawn from the civilian sector. The Army embraced this approach and placed providers in schools on Army posts all over the world.

In TBI care, in partnership with DoD and other services, the Army has implemented a clear set of clinical standards and delivers them in interdisciplinary clinics across the force, Ivany said.

Interdisciplinary Treatment

In his remarks, the director of the Navy’s Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center said that about 80 percent of all TBIs are classified as mild. Those who have suffered mild TBIs may experience only subtle changes in mood, memory, sleep and balance. They have no visible signs of injury, Johnson said, but often struggle to function at work, at home and in the community.

“The reality is there is currently no diagnostic tool that is sensitive and specific for mild TBI,” he said. “However, we have worked to overcome this developing a holistic, integrated, interdisciplinary treatment model that employs a standard evaluation that includes physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions.”

The center uses this information to diagnose and treat each patient with traditional therapies and complementary and integrative medicine, he added.

“We use a minimal amount of medication, almost no narcotics, and over 90 percent return to full duty upon completing the program,” Johnson noted.

The Military Health System, in partnership with civilian academic institutions, has a robust research portfolio to address gaps in knowledge and improve care for service members with TBI, he said, including a progressive return-to-activity protocol that gives providers guidelines about how to increase activity in a way that maximizes recovery.

DoD has an ongoing longitudinal study of TBI in members of the armed forces to better understand the condition and make sure patients get the treatment they need, Johnson said.

[Source: By Cheryl Pellerin/US DoD -/- Media Relations]
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Air Force Psychological Health Official Discusses PTSD Treatment Air Force Psychological Health Official Discusses PTSD Treatment
Col. (Dr.) Steven Pflanz, the Air Force’s deputy director of psychological health, says all airmen will get state-of-the-art treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder during testimony at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, April 27, 2017.
Behavioral Health Data Portal Improves Quality of Care Behavioral Health Data Portal Improves Quality of Care
Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Chris Ivany, chief of behavior health in the Office of the Army Surgeon General, describes the Army’s behavior health data portal, which helps to measure from the patient’s perspective how symptoms have responded to care, during testimony at a House Armed Services Committee hearing, April 27, 2017.
Full Event: Defense Health Officials Testify on PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury

Related Links

Special Report: Warrior Care
Special Report: Brain Injury Awareness Month 2017

Related Images

Magnetoencephalography laboratory scientist Mihai Popescu points out areas of magnetic activity in a brain on a display at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., March 16, 2017. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.
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A traumatic brain injury patient walks through a virtual reality scenario at the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment Laboratory at National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., March 20, 2017. The patient is attached to a safety harness and walks on a treadmill on a platform that moves and rotates in conjunction with movements of the projected environment. Motion capture cameras track the patient’s movements via reflective markers that are applied to the patient and supply data on physical deficits to physical therapists. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.
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Lithuania – President Dalia Grybauskaitė Vows To Maintain Close Relations With The UK After Brexit

President Dalia Grybauskaitė is attending a special European Council of 27 to discuss the guidelines for Brexit negotiations.

2009 m. Respublikos Prezidento rinkimai Dalia grybauskaitė 20

According to the President, the United Kingdom will remain an important part of Europe even after leaving the European Union. The UK is a close political, economic and security partner and ally to which we are connected by strong people-to-people ties.

Therefore, the negotiations need to focus on both the protection of own interests and new solutions for effective future cooperation.

Lithuania’s primary objective is to ensure that Lithuanian nationals living in the UK continue to enjoy non-discriminatory rights after Brexit.

More than three million Europeans live, study and work in the UK.

The protection of their rights is therefore a top negotiating priority. Leaders agreed to make sure that Brexit would not imply any deterioration in the situation of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom.

The EU will also seek to ensure that no business-hindering legal vacuum is created by Brexit. The United Kingdom is a major export partner of Lithuania and the world’s fifth largest economy.

It is important for Lithuania therefore to maintain close economic contacts with Britain as well as to protect EU fundamental freedoms.

EU leaders also underlined that they would seek a strong and constructive future relationship with the United Kingdom that would cover not only trade, but also close collaborative work in defense, foreign and security policies and counter-terrorism.

[Source: Government of Lithuania/Press Service of the President -/- Media Relations]
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FAO And WFP Urge Swift Action To Prevent Hunger Deaths In Four Countries Hit By Conflict

UN Food Agencies Warn Against Ignoring Famine Alarm

Village in South Sudan

The leaders of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have called on the international community to urgently step up action to prevent further hunger deaths in four countries stalked by famine: north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

“Many people have already died,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said at a briefing on the sidelines of FAO’s Council – the executive arm of FAO’s governing body.

“Peace is of course the key to ending these crises. But even in times of conflict, there is much we can do to fight hunger and avoid famine… I visited Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria and saw myself how powerful agricultural support can be in a humanitarian crisis,” he said.

A famine has been formally declared in parts of South Sudan, while north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen are on the brink of famine. Combined, 30 million people are grappling with finding enough food each day.

“We need to reach hungry people to prevent them from dying,” said WFP’s new Executive Director David Beasley.

“We have the strength, logistical capacity and technology to get the job done. What we need is access to the people who are on the brink of famine and resources, now not later. Without this support, we will have to make life-challenging decisions over who will receive food and who will not.”

The heads of FAO and WFP stressed that both agencies’ famine response operations are severely underfunded, and there must be an immediate and substantial increase in resources to save lives and livelihoods.

Conflict is the common thread across the four affected countries. FAO and WFP are working quickly and closely in these emergency zones to prevent famine spreading further.

For example, in South Sudan, FAO and WFP are part of an inter-agency rapid response that is bringing life-saving food, fishing and vegetable-growing kits, and other emergency services to hard-to-reach communities gripped by famine.

In north-eastern Nigeria, the two agencies are collaborating to ensure people facing hunger receive both food assistance to meet their immediate needs and food production assistance to grow their own food. Food production kits cost less than $90 but can provide enough food for a family of eight for six months.
 
[Source: UN FAO -/- Media Relations]
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South Africa – President Jacob Zuma Will Lead South African Delegation To The ‘World Economic Forum on Africa ‘

World Economic Forum On South Africa

Durban harbor

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma will lead South African delegation to the World Economic Forum on Africa to be held from 03-05 May 2017 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. The forum will be held under the theme: “Achieving inclusive growth: responsive and responsible leadership.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa will be attended by several African Heads of State and Government, global leaders from business, civil society as well as government to discuss important issues relating to the achievement of inclusive economic growth globally and with specific focus on Africa.

“South Africa is honoured to host this illustrious gathering of global leaders on behalf of the African continent and we look forward to sharing our insights and home-grown successes with the rest of the continent and the world.

“As a host country, we look forward to a meaningful dialogue and innovative ideas from stakeholders across the continent and the world on accelerating partnerships and boosting regional integration for Africa’s inclusive and sustainable growth,” said President Zuma.

The President said he is pleased that WEF on Africa 2017 would focus specifically on issues that include education, skills and employment, entrepreneurship, energy, infrastructure and development finance, combating, adapting to and building resilience against climate change, and science, technology and innovation.

President Zuma said the WEF meeting has come to South Africa at the right time.

“As a developing constitutional democracy that is defined by triple challenge of inequality, poverty and employment, South Africa believes that radical economic transformation is imperative to accelerating inclusive growth and eradicate these long standing challenges.

“Our international partners and investors appreciate this historical need as they know it is key to long term sustainable development for the South African economy,” said President Zuma.

President Zuma will be accompanied by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and the following key members of the government delegation:

Minister of Finance: Malusi Gigaba

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:  Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Jeff Radebe

Minister of Trade and Industry: Dr Rob Davis

Minister of Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel

Minister of Public Enterprises: Lynne Brown

Minister of Water and Sanitation: Nomvula Mokonyane

Minister of Small Business Development: Lindiwe Zulu

Minister of Energy: Mmamoloko Kubayi

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services: Siyabonga Cwele

Minister of Environmental Affairs: Edna Molewa

Minister of Arts and Culture: Nathi Mthethwa

Minister of Tourism: Tokozile Xasa

Minister of Health: Aaron Motsoaledi

Minister of Science and Technology: Naledi Pandor

Minister Higher Education and Training: Blade Nzimande

Deputy Minister of Finance: Sifiso Buthelezi

The President will also be accompanied by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Willies Mchunu, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, Executive Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Zandile Gumede as well as high delegation of business leaders.

[Source: South African Government News Agency (SAnews.gov.za) -/- Media Relations]
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Dubai And Uzbekistan Explore Expanding Trade In The Agriculture Sector

Dubai Chamber Explores Expanding Trade With Uzbekistan

Intensive gardening, apple trees (South Uzbekistan)-03

DUBAI,  — The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recently led a delegation of UAE business leaders to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to explore trade and investment opportunities within the country’s agricultural sector.

Dubai Chamber organised the trade mission in partnership with the UAE Embassy in Uzbekistan, the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the UAE, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Uzbekistan, Uzbekozikovkatholding, and Dubai Municipality, which has worked very closely with the Chamber to support trade missions to four Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS, countries, as well as the Eurasian Food Briefing held in Dubai during Gulfood 2017. These initiatives have benefitted 550 Eurasian businesses by informing them of technical requirements associated with exporting food products to the UAE.

During the visit, delegates met with representatives from Uzbekistan’s public and private sectors, including top executives of leading agribusiness companies in the country.

The Chamber also organised the Uzbekistan-UAE Food Export Briefing in Tashkent to showcase the benefits of trading with Dubai and provide more clarity on requirements for food imports to the UAE. Ninety delegates attended the briefing, and 70 business-to-business meetings were held after the event.

The briefing was addressed by Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber, Nazira Dadakhanova, Deputy Chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan, Mirabbos Aslanov, Head of Juridical Department at the Export Support Fund of Uzbekistan, and Amal Salem Saeed Al Bedwawi, Head of Food Studies and Risk Assessment Unit at Dubai Municipality.

During his welcome remarks, Mr. Khan pointed out that the expansion of direct flights between Dubai and Uzbekistan has supported non-oil bilateral trade, which amounted to AED976 million in the first nine months of 2016, while the number of Uzbek companies registered with Dubai Chamber has recently exceeded 300. He also highlighted Uzbekistan’s position as one of Central Asia’s leading food producers and exporters.

“Uzbekistan has an enormous agricultural potential to contribute to the UAE’s food security, and there are plenty of opportunities to diversify the supply of food products available in Dubai, particularly given the high quality of Uzbek products, such as fresh and dried fruits and vegetables,” said Khan.

He stated that the UAE is a key export market for many agribusiness companies in Uzbekistan. Food and agricultural products account for a fifth of Dubai’s imports from Uzbekistan. Uzbek products are known for their high-quality, and the country has the know-how to deliver organic produce, a product category which is seeing growing demand among consumers in the UAE.

Uzbekistan has scaled up its exports of fruits and vegetables by 38.3 percent to 818,500 tonnes in 2016, and this figure is expected to increase to 1.27 million tonnes by the end of this year. The government is also expected to push ahead with reforms that will aim to attract foreign investment, and introduce new free zones and an e-visa system that will facilitate tourism and improve ease of doing business.

Nazira Dadakhanova lauded Dubai Chamber’s efforts to strengthen Dubai-Uzbekistan trade ties, adding, “Uzbekistan possesses significant agricultural export potential, and Uzbekistan’s government considers Dubai a vital international business hub that can help diversify the country’s food exports. Opportunities also exist in expanding cooperation in the field of textiles, pharmaceuticals, green energy, and other industries.”

[Source: Emirates Government News Agency (WAM) -/- Media Relations]
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A Quick Rundown Of Islamic State’s (IS) Operations In Afghanistan

US Marines in Operation Enduring Freedom
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So-called Islamic State has wreaked havoc in eastern Afghanistan since 2015, mostly through its loose affiliates — attacking government installations and villages, killing and abducting hundreds of people, and keeping schools shuttered and replacing them with IS religious seminaries. It also claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in the country’s capital, Kabul. Here is a rundown… Read More


Turkey’s President Suggested That The U.S. And Turkey Combine Forces To Wipe Out ISIS

Turkish troops
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday if Ankara and Washington were to join forces they could turn the Syrian city of Raqqa into a “graveyard” for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Erdogan also suggested he could launch cross-border operations against Kurdish rebels at any time, just days after the military carried… Read More


Will US Immigration Try To Deport 50,000 People Back To Haiti?

Palacio presidencial de Haiti
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Brooklyn, New York – When Jean, a 28-year-old Haitian living in Florida, first came to the US, he was afraid to live in a high-rise building. It was residual fear, he said, from the 2010 earthquake he survived in Port-au-Prince. “I had just finished rehearsal, singing and dancing, because I’m an opera singer, and then it… Read More


The Pentagon Says Two U.S. Special Forces Troops Killed In Afghanistan This Week May Have Been Struck By Friendly Fire

Village in Faryab province
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The Pentagon says two U.S. Special Forces troops killed in Afghanistan this week may have been struck by friendly fire. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters Friday that the military was investigating the possibility that the troops might have been killed either by American forces or Afghan commandos taking part in a raid against Islamic… Read More


Multinational Military Exercise In Germany Tests The U.S. Army’s ‘Iron Brigade’

Live-Fire Exercise In Germany Tests Army’s ‘Iron Brigade’

HOHENFELS, Germany, –  Multinational exercise Combined Resolve 8 brought trainers from the Joint Multinational Readiness Center here to support soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team during a combined-arms live-fire exercise in Grafenwoehr, Germany, April 18-24. The first day’s focus was a fire-support coordination exercise for brigade operations, said Army Maj. Christopher Blaha, operations observer-coach-trainer, or OCT, from JMRC’s Timberwolves maneuver team and lead planner for the live-fire exercise. The second day, he added, was a cumulative exercise and combined-arms live-fire for two battalions: cavalry and armored.

To facilitate this phase, a combination of OCTs from JMRC’s eight training teams, with overall command and control from the Timberwolves team, broke away from their traditional role at Hohenfels Training Area to develop the training force overseeing the brigade-level operation.

“Our responsibilities as OCTs is to ensure safety, provide training assistance and provide candid feedback on how to improve as a mechanized formation,” said Army Capt. Andre Aleong, also of the Timberwolves. Exposure to a training event of this magnitude improves the OCTs’ mentoring skills, he added.

On the Range

Army Sgt. 1st Class Ndifrek Aanam-Ndu, a Timberwolves OCT, maneuvered his Humvee behind four Bradley fighting vehicles bounding into position on range Battle Position 2. He coaches Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment as they exercise a passage of lines with Comanche Troop, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment.

“The first part of this exercise is clearing a minefield, then executing a breach to meet the 4-10 Cav for a relief in place,” Aanam-Ndu said, pointing downrange.

The range looked like a series of rain-soaked bowling alleys under siege. Overhead, Apache helicopter teams kept watch on the battle under direction from the platoons of fighting vehicles and troop carriers on the ground.

Aanam-Ndu touched a button on an artillery fire simulator and hears the delayed booming in the distance. He watched how the teams reacted, then wrote in his notebook.

The Bradley teams performed a series of back-and-forth movements in battle position — first shooting, then ducking behind position, then rapidly maneuvering to an alternative left or right stand. Their engines blared like jets when they leaned in.

“Not too many units get to exercise passing over the battle space,” Aanam-Ndu said. “The strategy is almost a lost art. It’s a lot of moving parts this unit is fortunate to have the opportunity [to experience].”

The four Bradley fighting vehicles moved forward into position again. Drivers and gunners peered out through the fog of battle and inclement weather, spotted the next position and made a plan.

“As OCTs, our attention is focused on the unit’s readiness,” Aanam-Ndu said. “Our focus is challenging soldiers.”

As he dismounted, Aanam-Ndu approached a vehicle commander and simulated a casualty in the battle scenario. The vehicle’s gunner slumped over and feigned unconsciousness. He observed the team’s every move in assessing the casualty, using their combat lifesaving, field care and casualty evacuation training. He documented everything, taking great care in delivering detailed advice.

“The after-action reviews we provide will help them through the next phases of CBR 8,” he said. “Ultimately, they will maneuver better and be ready for any real-world challenge or conflict.”

Combined Resolve 8 will continue at the Hohenfels Training Area until mid-June. It’s a multinational exercise designed to train Army’s regionally allocated forces to the U.S. European Command. It will include more than 3,400 participants from 10 nations, working to prepare forces in Europe to operate together to promote stability and security in the region.

[Source: By Army Sgt. Karen Sampson, Joint Multinational Readiness Center ~ US DoD -/- Media Relations]
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Hungary – Completes The Second ‘Double Fence System’ Along The Whole Hungarian-Serbian Border, Protection Against Masses Of Illegal Migrants Entering Country

Second Fence Completed Along The Hungarian-Serbian Border

Slovenska vojska pri reševanju migrantske situacije z več zmogljivostmi 01

The second fence of the double fence system along the whole, 155 kilometre stretch of the Hungarian-Serbian border has been completed. At a press conference on Friday in Röszke, the Ministry of Interior’s Parliamentary State Secretary Károly Kontrát said that Hungarian border protection was now stronger than every before. “The Government decided to construct the second fence because we must prepare for even greater migration pressure”, the politician stressed.

 “The mass migration affecting Europe has been continuous for the past two years and the Balkan migration route is still active”, the State Secretary said, adding that increasing numbers are setting out for the continent with the approach of summer.

“Italy has registered the arrival of 33 percent more migrants during the first four months of the year than during the similar period last year. Action against international people smuggling organisations seems to be having no effect”, Mr. Kontrát told the press.

The politician pointed out that despite the fact that it was decided at the EU summit in Malta that hot-spots must be established in Libya, this has not happened to this day, and boats setting out from Africa are not being turned back either.

 “The fate of the agreement between the EU and Turkey is also doubtful, and if the agreement were to fall through it would have profound implications”, he said.

“Thanks to the stricter regulations that came into force a month ago with relation to Hungary’s legal border barrier, migrants are avoiding the Hungarian border. This, and the completion of the second fence has now enabled a reduction in the number of police and military personnel on duty at the border, who have performed beyond the call of duty until now”, the State Secretary said.

According to Mr. Kontrát, “Brussels and the pro-migrant Soros organisations have placed the legal and physical border barriers under fire, they would like us to let in the migrants” and would like to see the fence demolished. But Hungary will continue to protect its border and the external Schengen border of the European Union, he declared.

The State Secretary told reporters that the construction of the second row of fences had cost 4.8 billion forints (EUR 15.4M). According to the information handed out at the press conference, the prison service completed the work within sixty days with the involvement of 150 professionals and 600 prisoners. The second fence has been reinforced with 2-metre high and 8 mm thick welded wire mesh, and has been fitted with the required NATO barbed wire.

 Speaking on Kossuth Radio’s “180 Minutes” program on Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the double fence system established along the southern border will assure the security of the Hungarian people for many years to come.

“The 155 kilometre fence system is capable of withstanding any number of people and is to all intents and purposes impenetrable”, he said, adding that we will have to continue to live with the threat of migration pressure from the Balkan migration route.

He indicated however, that the European Commission, George Soros and NGOs have placed Hungary’s migration regulations under attack and would like Hungary to demolish the fence, change its legal procedures and let the migrants in. “Brussels may well launch infringement proceedings with relation to the issue”, the Prime Minister added.

[Source: Government of Hungary/Ministry of Interior (MTI) -/- Media Relations]
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