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ČR to extend controls of Austrian border on Saturday

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Prague, Oct 8 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will extend random controls introduced over the migrant crisis along the Austrian border in mid-September from 14 to 20 border crossings on Saturday, Lucie Novakova, spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry, told CTK Thursday.

She said police from nine out of 14 regions will be deployed. Until now, police from four regions assisted the foreigner police.

If Austria decided to close its borders besides the one with the Czech Republic, the latter is ready to further extend the border protection. This would include the cancellation of certain international train connections, Novakova said.

The extended controls will help the police gain a better knowledge of possible illegal migration for which the smugglers could also use the less important border crossings, Novakova said.

She said this does not mean the reintroduction of border controls at all.

“We aim at ensuring security for the citizens of the Czech Republic. We are doing everything in harmony with the Schengen border code,” Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

He said the customs officers will also participate in the controls.

Random controls at 14 border crossings with Austria were launched on September 13. On Saturday, the police will extend them to the remaining third-category border crossings.

The ministry repeated that after a recent joint exercise of the soldiers and police, they are ready to further intensify border protection within five hours of the government’s decision. Up to 5000 police officers and 300 soldiers could be deployed.

The information on the extension of controls came tonight in reaction to the imprecise interpretation of Chovanec’s words this afternoon. The media said the Czech Republic will also close its border on Sunday if Austria does so.

Austria might close its border in connection with the completion of the building of a border fence in Hungary. The migrants could then travel to their target country, Germany, via the Czech Republic.

However, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD), currently attending a conference on the East Mediterranean and West Balkan migration routes in Brussels, denied the information on the border closure and said this does not even threaten.

“I do not think that we should act rashly and create borders. We should better seek ways of jointly managing the situation. This is what the Czech Republic will prefer,” Zaoralek told journalists.

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