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Crisis on the border with Belarus. Germany. Angela Merkel spoke with Alyaksandr Lukashenka for the second time

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Angela Merkel and Alyaksandr Lukashenka held a second conversation on the crisis caused by Belarus at the borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. This was announced by the spokesman for the German chancellor and the Belarusian state press agency BiełTA. The statements differ greatly from one another. The German chancellor’s first conversation with Lukashenka on Monday was criticized. Part of the political scene in Germany itself noted that Merkel took a step that broke European unity in isolating the dictator after the rigged elections and the suppression of the opposition’s protests in 2020. President Andrzej Duda stressed on Wednesday that Poland would not accept any decision made on the crisis “over our heads” and said that he delivered such a message to the German president on Tuesday.

“Chancellor Merkel spoke to Mr Lukashenka again,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert wrote on social media Wednesday afternoon. Angela Merkel “stressed the need to provide humanitarian aid and repatriation centers to people affected by” the crisis on the borders of Belarus. This should be done “with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and cooperation with the European Commission” – said the government spokesman in Berlin, presenting the course of the conversation.

The Reuters Agency notes that on Wednesday – as on Monday – the Belarusian dictator was not described in a press release by Merkel’s cabinet as the president, “but simply Mr. Lukashenka”.

Belarusian side about Merkel and Lukashenka’s arrangements

In turn, BiełTA agency indicated on Wednesday that Merkel and Lukashenka had “renewed” telephone conversations in line with the agreement they had signed on Monday.

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According to the governmental Belarusian press agency, the German chancellor and the ruling Belarusian Lukashenka talked about the migration crisis at the country’s borders with the EU and agreed that “the whole problem concerns relations between Belarus and the European Union, and the indicated representatives of both sides will start negotiations immediately”.

There was no information about any negotiations in the German government’s announcement.

The Russian agency Interfax also informed about the conversation and – referring to Lukashenka’s press services – said that it concerned the discussion of “a number of problems”, and above all the situation of migrants “on the Belarusian-Polish, Belarus-Lithuanian and Belarus-Latvian borders”. The conversation was also about “ways and perspectives of solving the migration problem in order to prevent the escalation of the situation at the border” – Interfax reported.

President Duda: nothing above our heads

President is staying in Montenegro on Wednesday Andrzej Duda He noted that on Tuesday he had talked with the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and announced to him that Poland would not take note of any actions and decisions “taken over our heads” regarding the crisis caused by the Minsk regime.

The head of Estonian diplomacy, Eva-Maria Liimets, commented on the talks between the German chancellor and the Belarusian leader, said on Wednesday that Lukashenka wanted the leaders of EU countries to recognize him as the president of Belarus. It also expects the sanctions to be lifted in return for the end of the migration crisis, the portal of the Estonian radio and TV broadcaster ERR News reported.

– In our opinion, it is important that the European Union remains united and that its actions exert influence on Belarus – Liimets emphasized at the same time, referring to the need to “introduce new sanctions as soon as possible (for Belarus – ed.)”.

Criticism in Germany against Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone call on Monday with Alyaksandr Lukashenka was the first contact initiated by a Western high-level politician since the rigged presidential elections held in Belarus in August 2020. The leaders of the European Union countries do not recognize Lukashenka as the president of the country.

The conversation was criticized by, among others the independent Belarusian political scientist Valery Karbalewicz. He assessed that “thanks to the talks with Merkel, Lukashenka achieved what he wanted, being practically re-recognized as the president and legal representative of the Belarusian government”.

The chancellor’s telephone contact with Lukashenka was also criticized by Omid Nouripour, spokesman for the German Greens in the Bundestag for foreign policy. He described the event as “catastrophic” and stressed that “there is a very clear policy, agreed at the European Council, that Lukashenka is not recognized as the rightful president of Belarus”. He indicated that Merkel’s actions “completely thwarted these plans, contributing to the recognition and legitimization of Lukashenka’s power.”

The European Commission will donate 200,000 euro for humanitarian aid

The European Commission announced on Wednesday that it has earmarked 200,000. euro for humanitarian aid for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), through which funds will go to migrants in Belarus. The EU also secured an additional 500,000. euro for this purpose.

“The EU supports its humanitarian partners in alleviating the suffering of people left behind at the border and in other parts of Belarus. I appeal for permanent access by humanitarian organizations from both sides to reach this large group of refugees and migrants and provide them with urgent assistance,” said the EU Commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarczicz.

200 thousand The euro of immediate EU funding will support the IFRC and go to the Belarusian Red Cross. The funds are to be used for food, hygiene kits, blankets and first aid kits.

The Union mobilized an additional 500,000 for humanitarian purposes in the ongoing security crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border and is holding talks with partner partner organizations about their distribution, the Commission informed.

The EC also assured that it was ready to provide additional funds for humanitarian needs, if the relevant organizations in Belarus were granted access to migrants.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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