North Macedonia ready to face increased pressure at border with Greece: official

North Macedonia’s authorities are monitoring the situation at the southern border with Greece and are ready to face with increased pressure, North Macedonia’s Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska said on Saturday.

Shekerinska was responding to reporters following the protests staged on Friday by hundreds of refugees and migrants in Greece, near the border with North Macedonia.

Some 500 people have camped since Thursday afternoon outside the refugee reception facility of Diavata community, at the outskirts of Thessaloniki port city in Greece and about 60 kilometers from the Idomeni border crossing into North Macedonia.

Shekerinska said that together with the Interior Ministry they are monitoring the situation at the southern border with the permanent army presence on the border.

“We are ready to face with increased pressure at the border. It is important to be vigilant and ready,” said Shekerinska.

The minister said that the military presence at the border was justified, even in the days when there were no migrants there.

On Friday, North Macedonia’s Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski said that the authorities are exchanging information with the Greek authorities on a daily basis.

According to Spasovski, border police have enhanced the security on the border with Greece.

Meanwhile, Spasovski noted that the authorities have observed a growing trend of illegal entry on the southern border.

In 2018, North Macedonia’s police prevented a total of 16,900 migrants from crossing the border illegally.