Migrant crisis: State of emergency along Macedonian borders
The government in Skopje on Thursday declared a state of emergency along its southern and northern borders due to a rising wave of migrants.
This creates the possibility of deploying the Macedonian army, Interior Ministry spokesperson Ivo Kotevski said.
Kotevski told a news conference that Macedonia’s inter-institutional coordination body was monitoring on a daily basis the situation regarding the illegal migrants intending to enter Macedonia across the southern border with Greece, “and in line with that, is producing analyses in order to respond in every possible way.”Kotevski then said it was decided that “increased and more efficient control of the border area where mass illegal crossings from the Greek sides have been registered was needed due to the increased pressure on the southern border and the increasingly higher intensity of transit through the so-called Balkan migratory corridor.”
“We expect the army’s deployment to produce results in two directions. First, to increase security and peace of mind of the local population and second, to secure a more comprehensive approach to the treatment of persons who have expressed their intention of seeking asylum in the Republic of Macedonia, in line with the capacities and recommendations of the conventions signed by the Republic of Macedonia, which we are making an effort to consistently respect” – said Kotevski.He also “stressed that in order to act according to the government’s decision a headquarters will be formed with the Center for Crisis Management that should draft an action plan and realize the envisaged activities.”
Earlier on Thursday, Macedonia’s Plusinfo website reported that Macedonia’s border with Greece was blocked today, and that more than 3,000 migrants were stranded in the duty-free zone. According to the same source, the Thessaloniki-Skopje railroad was also blocked.
The website said that special military and police forces have already been sent to the border with Greece, and were controlling the situation in the border area.