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Macedonia stop Kosovo immigrants on Swedish passports

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07:46 CEST+02:00
Macedonian police have prevented five Kosovo Albanians, travelling with several Swedish soldiers serving with NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo (KFOR), from flying from Macedonia to Sweden, the Macedonian Interior Ministry said Monday.

A five-member family, residents of neighbouring Kosovo, carried Swedish passports issued by Stockholm's embassy in Macedonia but had no stamps showing they had entered this former Yugoslav republic, the ministry said in a statement.

An unnamed Swedish diplomat, who had accompanied the group, returned to the border between UN-run southern Serbian Kosovo province and Macedonia in a bid to subsequently obtain the stamps.

"But when Macedonian border guards began checking the validity of the passports, a KFOR vehicle, carrying five Kosovars, rushed back to Kosovo," the ministry said.

The Swedish embassy in Skopje has been informed of the incident, it added.

Macedonian media reported that a diplomat was suspected of issuing the passports to the family.

Ivo Kotevski, Macedonia's deputy Interior minister said officials have found several cases of Kosovo residents illegally obtaining Swedish passports.

"Our police have informed the embassy of Sweden about these developments," Kotevski told AFP.

Earlier this year, 18 Kosovo Albanians were detained in Macedonia for carrying Swedish passports with fake identities.

In search for better living standards, many in Kosovo -- one of the poorest regions in the Balkans, whose majority ethnic Albanian population seek independence from Serbia -- try to illegally enter Western European countries.

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