Lukashenko accuses EU of shirking responsibility in migration crisis

Moscow, Nov 22 (EFE).- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday said the European Union is failing to fully address the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border and insisted that Germany should take in the nearly 2,000 migrants who have been stranded there for more than two weeks.

“I am waiting for the EU’s decision on 2,000 refugees,” the leader said in the border region of Grodno, according to the state-run BELTA news agency.

He added that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he has spoken twice over the phone since the beginning of the migration crisis, “promised me to consider this problem at the EU level.”

“Yet, it is not even being considered,” said the Belarusian president, who claimed that when his foreign minister, Vladimir Makei, has tried to reach the EU’s designated so-called “contact persons” to “get to grips with this problem, they answer that they are on a business trip, somewhere else and so on.”

“We will handle these migrants on our own if Germany does not take them. What else is left for us to do? We have no choice. But we must demand that the Germans take them,” Lukashenko insisted.

The German government on Monday flatly rejected the Belarusian president’s demand, with spokesperson Steffen Seibert saying it was not an acceptable solution for Germany or the EU.

“We have been very clear in the last few days about what we are going to do in terms of EU assistance or possible contribution to solve this artificially created crisis,” EU foreign spokesman Peter Stano said about efforts to facilitate the repatriation of the migrants.

He said that there had been contacts “with different Belarusian interlocutors”, “at different levels”, the most recent on Friday.

Lukashenko announced that a second repatriation flight was being prepared for the end of the month, following the one organized by the Iraqi government last week for more than 400 Iraqis.

Lukashenko also issued a warning to Poland, whose authorities have threatened to cut off rail links with Belarus.

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