128 exiles have visited Greece

Nearly 130 native Greek civil war exiles, resident in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, have visited Greece over the past eight days, after a decades-old ban on their return was temporarily lifted. Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos said a total of 128 beneficiaries of the measure – which will apply for 20-day visits until the end of October – had entered the country between August 10 and yesterday afternoon. The Slavic language-speaking exiles form a particularly sensitive group, having fought with Communist forces while seeking to carve out an autonomous state within Greece’s northern province of Macedonia. This latter aspiration, which the Communists encouraged, led to their exclusion from a 1982 law on the return of all political exiles. «The smooth flow of visiting political refugees into Greece proves that everything is proceeding without hitch,» Loverdos said. He added that 53 of the exiles have already returned to FYROM after using only a fraction of the time at their disposal.