GRODNO DISTRICT, 26 November (BelTA) – The European Union is reluctant to address the migrant crisis on the border of Belarus and the EU, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko told reporters after visiting the logistics center turned into a temporary accommodation facility for refugees near the border with Poland on 26 November, BelTA has learned.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, during his first conversation with Germany's Acting Chancellor Angela Merkel, he asked to take more than 2,000 people who are on the border with Poland. “I assumed from this conversation that Merkel understood the situation perfectly and she did not mind it. She will step down soon, her term in office is nearly over. And secondly, European solidarity. She asked me to send home refugees staying here. I said that we would work on it. And I told her twice: we will try to solve this problem by the new year. We will not repatriate them. We will ask them to leave [those who want to],” said head of state.
"As you can see, I am honoring my obligations: more than 1,000 people have already left, 400 are about to leave. They are at the airport today. They should pay and charter the planes as they promised," the Belarusian leader stressed.
According to him, during the second conversation Angela Merkel said that the problem of refugees at the border will be solved at the EU level and promised to appoint contact persons for this work. “She says: These people will be in charge of the work to solve this problem at the EU level. I instructed the minister [of foreign affairs] and he called them the following day. He heard: We have a lot on our plates right now. We have business trips scheduled. Apparently, they are not willing to solve this problem. The bottom line is this: if you don't want to solve it, then you should tell me. We will solve this problem without you!" the head of state said.
Things are still in square one on the part of the EU, the president said.
“Moreover, one of the officials, whom she named, behaves simply disgusting. He makes statements that insult not only the country but also me personally. What should I do in this situation? Should I kick him out the moment he arrives? (He is not even coming here.) They are trying to exacerbate the situation and doing everything possible to derail the process that began after my phone conversation with Merkel. I can see that Poland is also escalating tensions, as the situation is rather complicated in Poland. Poland wants to obtain billions and the authorities are doing their best to divert people's attention from the problems in the country, including the abortion law and farmers' issues,” said the president.
He stressed: “We will not abuse these people [refugees]. They do not want to solve this problem even in the areas where it can be solved. It is not difficult for the Red Cross to assist with funds or the Healthcare Ministry to provide medical care. There are a lot of sick people here. Winter is coming. The pandemic is still here. Don't they understand it? They come and go. Nothing changes.”