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Confusion over claims Greece-Macedonia refugee crossing has closed

Refugees bound for western Europe have faced a confusing open-shut day at a key border crossing from Greece into non-EU Macedonia. Police in Skopje have contradicted reports of a night-time closure.

Idomeni, a key crossing point

between Greece

and Macedonia, was reported shut again on Wednesday night after a conflicting claim that it been reopened for refugee movements in the early evening.

Police in Skopje, Macedonia's capital, told DW that a brief 90-minute closure on Wednesday afternoon had resulted from a brief closure on Macedonia's northern crossing with Serbia.

German news magazine Der Spiegel said 2,400 migrants were hindered on Wednesday.

Half of them were located at a local refugee camp. The other 1,200 were waiting at a fuel station close to the crossing.

Tighter border controls at entry points into Slovenia and Hungary had resulted in flows along the route being jammed, Spiegel added.

Key conduit

Macedonia and Serbia are neither part of the EU, nor Europe's nominally hassle-free Schengen travel zone, but form a key conduit used by asylum-seekers who first reach Greece, mainly from Turkey.

In early December, thousands of refugees were stuck at the border amid tense protests that prompted the UN's refugee agency to express "deep concern" about the crowd-control risks of throttling migrant flows.

ipj/jr (dpa, AP)

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