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Over one thousand refugees return to Kosovo in the last four days

In the last four days 1,008 refugees have returned to Kosovo via flights into Skopje airport, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.
The agency said it has organized the repatriation of refugees to Kosovo from Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, which started on Monday with 144 persons from Switzerland.

"Over 125,000 refugees have taken part in organized repatriation since last year, some over land, but the vast majority by air, via Skopje and Pristina airports, " UNHCR spokesman Peter Kessler said in a press briefing in Pristina.

He said flights will resume on 18 January to Kosovo's Slatina Airport -- reopened to civilian aircraft on Tuesday -- with a German Government-chartered DC-9 flying in with an expected 102 returnees.

UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration expect some 5,200 returnees this month -- all refugees or asylum-seekers. Of the total, some 2,550 returnees are coming in from Switzerland and some 1,280 from Germany. Returnees from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, France, Finland, New Zealand, Austria, Spain are also expected this month.

Mr. Kessler also said this week a group of 45 refugee Kosovo are visiting from Sweden to look at the situation in Kosovo and then go back to Sweden to report to Kosovars there.