Moscow | Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday accused EU officials of refusing to hold talks with Minsk on the fate of 2,000 migrants stranded near the EU’s eastern border.
Western nations have accused Belarus of artificially creating a crisis, promising easy entry into the EU by targeting potential immigrants – mainly from the Middle East – and by imposing Western sanctions in retaliation.
Belarus has denied the allegations, blaming the EU for not welcoming immigrants.
“I look forward to the EU’s answer to the question of 2,000 migrants,” Lukashenko told a government conference, citing the state-owned Belta News Agency.
Thousands of immigrants, mostly Iraqi Kurds, have been stranded for days in the cold and humid jungles of the Belarus-Poland border, hoping to reach Western Europe.
About 400 of them were flown home to Iraq on Thursday and about 2,000 Belarusian officials took refuge in a logistics center hangar near the border.
Lukashenko said on Monday that he had asked the EU to welcome the migrants. The Belarusian president assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel that “Merkel has assured me that this issue will be looked into at the EU level”, which she spoke to by phone with the German leader twice last week.
“But they don’t,” he said.
According to the Belarusian President, despite appeals from the Belarussian Foreign Minister, European officials are refusing to comment on the matter.
“We have to ask the Germans to welcome them,” Lukashenko told immigrants.
Belarus last week promised that the German chancellor would hold talks with the EU on a “humanitarian corridor” to repatriate the remaining 2,000 migrants to Germany.
However, this statement was strongly denied by the German government.