MINSK, 18 November (BelTA) – Belarus is fulfilling its commitments as part of the mechanism proposed by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko during the telephone conversation with Germany's acting Chancellor Angela Merkel, Press Secretary of the Belarusian President Natalya Eismont told BelTA in response to the request to provide updates on the migrant crisis and Belarus' efforts to resolve it.
“I will update you on the situation in the follow-up to the conversations between the president of Belarus and Germany's acting chancellor. As of today, there are about 7,000 refugees in the territory of Belarus. About 2,000 of them are in the makeshift camp at the border. According to available information, from 200 to 500 refugees are scattered across various sections of the border,” Natalya Eismont said.
According to her, during the first conversation with Angela Merkel, the Belarusian head of state put forward the following mechanism: “The European Union was suggested to create a humanitarian corridor for 2,000 refugees who are in the camp. We shall facilitate the return of the remaining 5,000 refugees home (to the extent possible and provided refugees agree to it). Angela Merkel agreed to discuss this proposal with the EU, including a possibility to arrange a humanitarian corridor to Germany,” Natalya Eismont said.
“As you can see, we are already fulfilling our commitments! Indeed, only about 400 refugees agreed to return to their homeland. To be precise, there were 374 passengers, mostly citizens of Iraq, on board the plane that flew out of Minsk today," Natalya Eismont noted.
According to her, the rest continue to insist on providing a humanitarian corridor to Western Europe, above all, to Germany. "For the time being they flatly refuse to fly back to their homeland, but we will be working on it. Nevertheless, we can already see that the work of the Belarusian migration service in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yielded results. We keep our promises. Meanwhile, the European Union has yet to honor at least a single obligation," Natalya Eismont noted.
Moreover, the European Union has not even begun negotiations at the expert level, as agreed by the Belarusian president and the German acting chancellor during the second conversation.
"One more thing. In the last two days, after using tear gas, flash grenades against peaceful refugees, pesticides, herbicides, and what not, the Polish government declared a kind of ‘victory' not only over Belarus but also over Russia (this is how they present the events on the Belarusian-Polish border in the media and we know why: in order to distract the attention of their own public). In this regard, at a meeting with the migration service and other agencies, the president instructed to facilitate, as much as possible, the return of refugees to their homeland and the fulfillment of their other wishes. The only condition is their goodwill. We will not force anyone back into Iraq, Syria or other countries," Natalya Eismont emphasized.