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Evros fence ready by mid-December

 Interceptions of illegal immigrants on Aegean islands up tenfold in recent months

A barbed-wire fence running along a 12.5-kilometer stretch of land border between Greece and Turkey is expected to be finished and operational by mid-December and to decisively curb illegal immigration, sources at the Public Order Ministry have told Kathimerini.

The fence, which has been under construction since the summer, has already had a huge impact on the influx via the land border with illegal arrivals down by 95 percent, according to border guards. “We are impressed by the operation and its results,” the regional governor for eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Aris Giannakidis, told Kathimerini. “We no longer see desperate migrants waiting at Alexandroupoli train station or people walking to the city from Orestiada,” he added, referring to a small town near the Turkish border.

The police force at the border, currently 1,900-strong, is to be whittled down to half its size, starting from today, sources said.

However, the sharp drop in undocumented immigrants entering Greece through Evros has been accompanied by a renewal in the illegal influx via the islands of the Aegean. From the beginning of the year until the end of July, police and coast guard officers on the Aegean islands detained 102 undocumented migrants while more than 10 times that number – 1,536 – were intercepted over the following three months.

ekathimerini.com , Friday November 30, 2012 (21:25)  
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