France to introduce border checks for Paris UN climate talks: minister

France to introduce border checks for Paris UN climate talks: minister

6th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

France will restore border checks as a security measure for UN climate talks that start in Paris at the end of this month, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday.

"For a month we are going to set up checks on borders," Cazeneuve told French media, highlighting the risk of a "terrorist threat (or) public disturbance" during the conference.

The minister said the Schengen agreement guaranteeing border-free passage through Europe could be suspended "in special circumstances such as the talks".

He recalled similar border closures during climate conferences in Denmark in 2009 and Poland in 2013.

The interior ministry said the controls would take place from November 13 to December 13, at all road, rail, sea and air borders.

The tightening of France's borders comes as Europe's cherished Schengen zone is buckling under the pressure of the worst migrant crisis since World War II.

Twenty-two EU countries, plus non-EU Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein are part of the agreement which allows passport-free travel between member states.

The flow of migrants has seen several Schengen states restore border controls, such as Germany, while Austria is planning to erect a fence with Slovenia to keep the refugees out.

However Cazeneuve said the closure had nothing to do with the migrant crisis.

"It is not because we are suspending free movement for a few weeks... that we are committing to a path that would consist of bringing Schengen principles into question."

US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are among more than 80 world leaders attending the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held at Le Bourget just outside Paris from November 30 to December 11.

The conference aims to agree a new global pact to fight climate warming.

France has been on high alert since 17 people were killed in a three-day jihadist attack in January, including shootings at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket.

Several other attacks have reportedly been foiled since.

© 2015 AFP

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