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22 November 2021, 17:35

Lukashenko tells BBC new details of negotiations with Merkel

MINSK, 22 November (BelTA) – In an interview with the British media company BBC on 19 November Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko revealed new details of previous two phone conversations with Acting Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, BelTA has learned.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, during the first conversation on 15 November Angela Merkel asked him what he could offer and about the way out of the situation. “I told her that Munich (Munich mentioned it then), other German cities would be glad to welcome these refugees. 2,100 people in the camp. It is not even a problem. Taking 2,000 is nothing,” he said.

During the conversation Aleksandr Lukashenko also pointed out there are many kids among the refugees. “I know you can see it. Take them. And about 5,000 will stay with me. I will work on sending them to Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan where they came from,” the head of state shared the details.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Angela Merkel also wondered whether the Belarusian side would be able to repatriate the refugees from Belarus to the countries they had come from.

During the first conversation Angela Merkel noted that she had to discuss the relevant matters with the European Union. “She told me: ‘You know it is not a German problem, it is a problem of the European Union. This is why I should talk to them.' I told her: ‘Okay, I understand your bureaucracy. But it has to be done fast. If you take these 2,000, it will be a resolution already. If you don't, it will be a catastrophe. People will freeze. People will start dying. She said: ‘I understand it, I heard you. If you don't mind, I will call you on Wednesday [17 November when the second phone conversation took place]'. I told her I will await her decision at any time.”

During the interview Aleksandr Lukashenko also shared details of the second conversation with Angela Merkel, during which she suggested negotiations between Belarus and the European Union. Deputy chairperson of the European Commission, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen were identified as the European Union's contact persons.

Aleksandr Lukashenko went on saying: “I was not happy about it because I knew her stance on Belarus but I said: ‘Okay. You've decided it this way, I don't care who will take care of it over there. What are we going to do about the 2,000?' She said: ‘This problem will be reviewed within the framework of agreements with the European Union, too.' I said: ‘Let's start work tomorrow. The contact persons, the European Union, Belarus, and so on. While I will work on convincing the refugees to go back to Iraq, for example.' Which I did. Over the course of 24 hours we convinced 431 people to go back to Iraq.”

The head of state stated that as a result the European Union understood that the problem is being resolved. “A response to the minister of foreign affairs: ‘We cannot negotiate right now. We are busy (those two contact persons). We have business trips next weeks.' In other words, they have actually washed their hands and have gone away,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. “You've stopped having contacts and have stopped working. If you don't want it, then we don't need it. We will resolve this problem without you. Any way we can.”

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