MINSK, 16 February (BelTA) – The European Union shows no interest in the migrants staying in Belarus, Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said at a press conference on 16 February, BelTA has learned.
“At one point the European Union agreed to discuss these issues. They sent a technical mission here. This group refused even to meet with the migrants. They came only to make sure that we really collaborate very closely with the relevant international organizations - the International Organization for Migration, the UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross. They did not need to come here just for this. They played up this visit and my conversations with Mr. Borrell [High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell] and conversations of my deputy with his counterparts. After that, everything wound down again. No one shows any interest in the fate of the remaining migrants now. We take it as an indicator of attitude to Belarus and the neighboring countries,” the minister said.
Vladimir Makei stated that the EU and international human rights organizations simply turn a blind eye when they are told about the refugees who died in Poland and Lithuania, about the dead bodies dumped in the territory of Belarus, about beaten people who were pushed out of the territory of Lithuania and Poland. “Everyone prefers to keep silent about this. For us, this is an indicator. Poland, Lithuania, Latvia have violated at least six international documents that oblige them to consider requests for asylum. I think that such an attitude on the part of the EU speaks for itself,” the foreign minister said.
Moreover, the Belarusian side did not even get the promised financial support: “They pledged to allocate about $1 million to help resolve this problem. But the money has not arrived yet.”
According to Vladimir Makei, a little over 700 migrants, including 270 children, remain at the refugee shelter set up in the Bruzgi logistics hub. “These are people who do not want to go back home and do not want to stay in Belarus. At the very beginning we invited our partners to address the issue together. A significant part of the migrants intended to go to Western countries, because their families are there .They wanted to reunite with them,” Vladimir Makei said.
The foreign minister once again dismissed accusations of orchestrating the migrant crisis. Back in April last year, the European Union was invited to discuss migrant issues after the suspension of funding for a number of programs in this area. “All our proposals were left unanswered,” the minister said.
Moreover, all infrastructure projects on the western border of Belarus were suspended at the initiative of Lithuania. “Therefore, we had to redirect the missing funds to protect our country from external threats and challenges,” Vladimir Makei concluded.