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Prague, Dec 14 (CTK) – The self-proclaimed state of Liberland, which was declared by Czech Vit Jedlicka three years ago in a border area between Serbia and Croatia claimed by neither of the two countries, has 150,000 citizens now, Jedlicka has told reporters.

According to Jedlicka, Liberland’s president, almost half a million people showed interest in obtaining the citizenship.

“We have more potential citizens than Malta or Iceland,” Jedlicka said on Wednesday.

“To date, we have granted citizenship to approximately 150,000 people,” he said.

Jedlicka said people from North Africa often applied for Liberland’s passports.

He said a clean criminal record and respect for other people’s religions were among the requisites for the granting of citizenship.

While other countries do not recognise Liberland, its officials strive to expand their representation and contacts. In 2017, there were 30 new offices established abroad and Liberland keeps in touch with 100 states, he said.

“People like Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Pirate movement, who represents Liberland in Berlin, are among the new representatives of our state,” Jedlicka said.

“This year, the Free Republic of Liberland started a strategic partnership with Somaliland,” Jedlicka mentioned another internationally unrecognised entity.

However, Liberland is not striving to establish diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic, he said.

The territory that Liberland has claimed in a meander of the Danube River since April 13, 2015, is not permanently inhabited and it is subject to a territorial dispute between Croatia and Serbia.

While Croatia says it belongs to Serbia, the latter rejects it in order to avoid losing other disputed areas around the Danube.

Experts on international law agree that the borders are not marked out clearly in the area, but this does not mean it belongs to no one.

Jedlicka also said on Wednesday that a permanent settlement was not possible due to the resistance of the Croatian government and also due to regular flooding of the area.

“We are gradually building a fleet that is parked on the shore. From early in the spring of 2018, it will serve as a base for our government,” he said.

Jedlicka promotes Liberland as a state with no excess bureaucracy, which is to only ensure citizens’ safety, justice and diplomatic services.

Tax paying is established on a voluntary basis. The country has its own currency called the merit, which equals one U.S. dollar, and its own airlines. It has designed its car registration plates and established several beer brands, Jedlicka said.

zot/dr/rtj

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