MINSK, 25 November (BelTA) – Europeans should pay for flying the refugees from Belarus to Iraq. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he commented on the evacuation aircraft's failure to fly from Iraq to Belarus, BelTA has learned. The remarks were made during a meeting held in the Palace of Independence on 25 November to discuss amendments to Belarus' Constitution.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “If they want to go, they are free to go. We are gathering them [refugees] in the airport. Why didn't the aircraft arrive today?”
The cost of arranging the flight was mentioned as the stumbling block. “Then Europeans should pay for it. Bastards. They claimed they had appropriated the money, millions and thousands… Not a single kopeck has been received here. By the Red Cross and the rest. We feed these people at our own expense right now. It is very important for them,” the president said.
“How much does a flight cost after all? And nobody wants to pay for it. May the European Union pay,” the Belarusian leader added.
BelTA earlier quoted State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Aleksandr Volfovich as saying that about 200 refugees are waiting at the Minsk National Airport for a flight to Iraq. The official said: “Unfortunately, the European Union is doing nothing today. As far as we know, an evacuation flight was supposed to arrive in Minsk from Iraq today in order to take back the refugees wishing to go home. Not all of them want to go back to Iraq because news about armed hostilities in Iraqi Kurdistan was received virtually the other day. There is an actual war going on. Of course, women and children do not want to go back to the state at war. But some wish to return. However, for some reason the flight did not happen today, the aircraft did not arrive in Belarus. About 200 migrants are at the airport waiting for the flight.”
In his words, the European Union is doing nothing about the situation for now.
Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anatoly Glaz also made a few comments about the situation. In his words, no barriers stand in the way of the refugees willing to go home. On the contrary, assistance is provided, including with paperwork. “I saw the news that the flight had been canceled due to problems with payments from our European partners. So far we have not received any payments from them for any of the agreed destinations. Only declarations of intent for now,” Anatoly Glaz said.
Belarus has been collaborating with the relevant UN organizations since the very first days. According to Anatoly Glaz, so far mostly secretariats visit the Belarusian-Polish border but they cannot make managerial decisions and are limited in their capabilities. “We would like to see greater participation and involvement,” Anatoly Glaz emphasized.