Some EU member country made attempts to prevent the Belarusian national air carrier Belavia from being sanctioned by the European Union, Delfi.lt reports with reference to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.
“It seems that there is very alarming news that one of the most important elements is being removed from the package of sanctions prepared by the European Union; I mean Belavia which is known to be responsible for bringing lots of a migrants to Belarus,” Landsbergis said.
According to him, the parties have the right to veto during the process of approving the would-be sanctions; only one country’s objection is enough to exclude any item.
The imposition of additional sanctions on Belarus in response to the escalation of the migration crisis on EU borders was agreed earlier this week by EU foreign ministers.
The minister does not specify which country is in favour of scratching the Belarusian airline from the sanctions list, but in light of Chancellor Merkel’s recent coversation with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, he does not rule out that it may be Germany. Gabrielius Landsbergis is adamantly opposed to the idea of holding negotiations with Lukashenka; in his opinion, one should speak only the language of sanctions with the Belarusian politician.
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 November 15, 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.