In today’s statement, G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, condemned the Belarus regime’s ‘orchestration of irregular migration across its borders’.
According to the top diplomats, such callous acts are putting people’s lives at risk. They expressed solidarity with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia as they are targeted by the provocative use of irregular migration as a hybrid tactic.
“We call on the regime to cease immediately its aggressive and exploitative campaign in order to prevent further deaths and suffering. International organisations need to be provided with immediate and unhindered access to deliver humanitarian assistance. The actions of the Belarusian regime are an attempt to deflect attention from its ongoing disregard for international law, fundamental freedoms and human rights, including those of its own people,” the statement reads.
The ministers commend the actions of the European Union, ‘which is working closely with countries of origin and transit to put an end to the actions of the Lukashenka regime’, and vowed to continue to work together to hold those responsible to account.
Last week, amid the ongoing migration crisis at the Belarusian-Polish border, the European Union was reported to be close to imposing more sanctions on Belarus, targeting some 30 individuals and entities including its foreign minister Uladzimir Makey and Belarus’ national air carrier Belavia. In the course of meeting with US leader Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU would ‘widen sanctions against Belarus very rapidly’.
On November 15, the Council of the EU amended its sanctions regime against the Belarusian authorities by broadening the listing criteria on which specific designations can be based. The EU is now able to target individuals and entities organising or contributing to activities by the Lukashenka regime that facilitate illegal crossing of the EU’s external borders.
On the same day, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Angela Merkel had a telephone conversation. According to Lukashenka’s press service, they discussed ‘several issues, primarily the situation with refugees on the Belarusian-Polish, Belarusian-Lithuanian, and Belarusian-Latvian borders’. Later, when asked to comment on the conversation, Estonia’s Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said that the Belarusian politician expressed readiness to pull the plug on the current migration crisis, but in exchange for the West’s recognising him as president and lifting sanctions imposed on the regime.
On November 16, a group of migrants who were seeking to illegally cross the Belarus-Poland border, started to throw stones, logs, metal pieces at Polish border guards from the Belarusian side. To stop the attackers, Polish officers resorted to using tear gas and water cannons.
Belsat.eu, following eeas.europa.eu