Merkel calls on Lukashenko again – Poland criticizes mediation efforts
Warsaw had already been informed, but criticized the entire decision: it was surprising that Chancellor Angela Merkel had called Alexander Lukashenko, government spokesman Pyotr Müller said. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer meanwhile wants to visit Poland.
NSChancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) re-called Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko due to an influx of refugees along the EU’s external borders with Belarus. Government spokesman Stefan Seibert said in Berlin on Wednesday that he called for “humanitarian care and the possibility of the return of those affected” in cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union Commission. According to information received from Minsk, the talks were also about direct talks between the European Union and Belarus.
Poland has previously criticized mediation efforts by Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron during the crisis. Government spokesman Piotr Müller told public broadcaster TVP on Wednesday that the government in Warsaw had already been informed of Merkel’s first phone call with Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko and Macron’s talks with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
He personally thought of the conversation with Lukashenko as being “a kind of acceptance of his choice,” Muller said. “I understand the situation, but I don’t think it’s a good move.”
Seeing the plight of the migrants, Merkel had already called Lukashenko on Monday evening. According to a report by Belarusian State Television, the talks lasted about 50 minutes. It was Merkel’s first talks with the ruler since the controversial presidential election held in Belarus on August 9 last year.
The European Union does not recognize Lukashenko as president. The backdrop of this is the widespread allegations of election fraud and the actions of Belarusian security forces against peaceful protesters and civil society.
On Monday, Macron spoke with Putin on the phone for a long time about the role Russia could play in resolving the conflict. Putin spoke to Lukashenko on Tuesday.
Seehofer does not want any stagnant controls on the German-Polish border
Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) is scheduled to fly to Warsaw on Thursday. Seehofer announced in Berlin that he would negotiate with the Polish government. The visit was to “agree with the future federal government” and “should clearly express that we stand in solidarity with Poland”.
Seehofer spoke of a “credible approach” on the part of Belarus to bring refugees into the country and to “make them aware” of the EU and Germany. That’s why the “full focus” of the government is on stopping it. “We have a very clear position from the federal government that is still in office, namely that we support the Poles in securing the EU’s external border,” Seehofer said. At the same time, however, the people on site should be helped “in their humanitarian emergency.”
During his inaugural speech at the digitally held autumn meeting of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the minister rejected calls to establish stable border controls on the German-Polish border in the wake of the refugee crisis. “Firstly, it will not solve the problem and secondly, it will stab the Poles in the back. And we are not allowed to do this under any circumstances,” said the acting federal interior minister.
In temperatures around the freezing point, thousands of migrants have been waiting at the border in temporary camps for days. According to the Belarusian state agency Belta, ruler Lukashenko has ordered a night camp to be set up at a logistics company’s storage facilities in the Grodno region near the border.
The European Union has accused Lukashenko of systematically bringing refugees from troubled areas to the EU’s outer border to pressure him. It is feared that he wants to avenge EU sanctions.
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