At the White House, von der Leyen Biden garners support in the Belarus crisis
Ursula von der Leyen announced in Washington that the European Union plans to extend its sanctions against Belarus by early next week. She can also count on the help of the USA – they want to impose their own sanctions in December.
IThere was no joint press conference after this summit. But there is a picture that Ursula von der Leyen – President of the European Commission – tweeted later, The photo shows him speaking to US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House, surrounded by men and women.
Biden and von der Leyen had recently seen each other at the G20 meeting in Rome, but apparently still needed to talk, so she moved to Washington. He later told reporters what the meeting was about: Belarus.
Americans and Europeans seek to work together to confront Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who – with the support of Vladimir Putin – effectively rules his country as the sole ruler. Von der Leyen announced that the European Union would extend its sanctions against Belarus as soon as next week.
According to EU diplomats, these sanctions will be directed against 30 institutions and individuals, including the Belarusian foreign minister and Belarusian airline Belavia. Von der Leyen also said that the US would impose its sanctions on Belarus in early December. “This is a hybrid attack, not a migration crisis”. Both the EU and the United States are threatening all airlines involved in the transport of refugees – including “Turkish Airlines” and “Flydubai” according to the EU’s findings – with strict sanctions.
“We Know the Pattern”
The European Union and NATO say Alexander Lukashenko is using migrants as weapons by flying from the Middle East into Minsk and placing them on the border with Poland and the Baltic countries. Von der Leyen told reporters: “This is an attempt by an authoritarian regime to destabilize its democratic neighbours”.
This attempt will not be successful. “We know the patterns. We know the attempts to influence our democratic elections, we see the cyber attacks, we see the propaganda campaigns, now we see this hybrid attack involving the role of refugees on the EU’s outer border. We have to defend our democracies against such cynical geopolitical power games.”
Von der Leyen and Biden also talked about Ukraine. “We both support the full territorial integrity of Ukraine,” said the President of the European Commission. “We also support Ukraine’s effort to modernize and transform our economy.”
He also spoke to Biden about the situation in Ireland. It is important that everyone abide by the agreements made. “We as the European Union are prepared to show the greatest resilience,” von der Leyen said, “but it is important to follow protocol and work with them.” Von der Leyen was pointing to the problems Brexit would affect the people of Northern Ireland.
Last but not least, the Washington meeting was about COVID. “Next year we want to vaccinate 70 percent of the world’s population,” von der Leyen said, “so there is still a lot to be done.”
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