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Idomeni: Greece sends two demarches to FYROM, Skopje complaints about Greek authorities

Greek Foreign Ministry complained with “two severe demarches” to FYROM about the “unacceptable incidents” on Sunday in Idomeni, where police forces and army units fired teargas and stun grenades against refugees and migrants for more than 4-5 hours.

On its side FYROM put the blame on Greece complaining that Athens “did nothing to prevent” refugees and migrants form raiding the border fence. In a statement issued by the Interior Ministry, Skopje accounted the injuries and damages on its side: 14 policemen and 9 army soldiers were injured, 3 police cars and 5 army vehicles damaged. No word was wasted about the teargas and the rubber bullets.

Also the Greek Foreign Ministry statement did not waste a word about whether there was a breach of the country’s sovereignty to have one country’s police and army firing teargas into people in another country’s soil.

Maybe it was said in the demarche… who knows?

FYROM army Greece


fyrom in greece

There has been various footage showing FYROM police but also army to have open the border fence and firing projectiles from the Greek soil. Sources of the Greek Defence Ministry said Sunday afternoon that there was no violation of the Greek borders. Later on Sunday and Monday morning, the official / unofficial version of the Greek government was that “the FYROM fence is a couple of meters in the back of the FYROM-Greece borders, in the “neutral zone” between the two countries.

FYROM apparently claimed that what happened on Sunday “was an EU issue,” probably in the sense that FYROM security forces were protecting the “EU borders.”

German Government Spokesman Steffen Seibert told Mega TV on Monday that “independently of whether a country belongs to EU or not, it has to respect the International Law.”

Challenge for Diplomacy

FYROM’s actions on Sunday were for sure very challenging for Greek diplomacy. Can you imagine the headlines, if Greek police and army had fired teargas against FYROM police and army? I can imagine something like “Two neighboring Balkan countries exchange teargas over the refugees.”

On 16 September 2015 a similar incident occurred at the Hungary-Serbia borders, when Hungarian police have fired tear gas and water cannon at migrants as they tried to pass the closed border from Serbia.  Serbia sent a diplomatic note to Hungary that did the same.

PS I suppose, diplomacy is just watching when these ugly incidents take place and then exchanges “diplomatic notes and demarches” to keep low profile on the issue. Problem … solved.

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