The Belarussian president calls for European forces to cooperate with Minsk, but Berlin rejects the proposal to take in 2,000 people.
President Alexander Lukashenko has said Belarus does not seek a confrontation with Poland, but wants European powers to work with Minsk to resolve the issue. migration crisis along its country’s border with Poland, adding that if the crisis “worsens too far, war is inevitable”.
Belarus’s state news agency BELTA quoted Lukashenko on Monday as saying he did not want the situation to escalate into weeks of tensions at the border, where Polish security forces were blocking migrants and refugees planning to move to the European Union. has to enter the block.
“We have to get through to the Poles, to every Pole, and they show that we are not barbaric, that we do not want confrontation. We do not need it. “We understand that if we go too far, war is inevitable,” Lukashenko said.
“And it’s going to be a disaster. We understand that very well. We do not want any kind of flare-up.”
Minsk rejects crisis resolution plan
Poland and its Western allies have accused Minsk of inciting the migration crisis.
They say it has attracted thousands of people, mainly from the Middle East, to Belarus and sent them to the EU via Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in response to sanctions imposed by the bloc on Lukashenko’s government over alleged human rights abuses after a disputed August. 2020 election that earned him a sixth term.
The 67-year-old denies the allegations and said his government could not help resolve the situation unless EU fines were lifted.
Last week, Lukashenko presented a plan to end the crisis, under which EU member state Germany would now admit 2,000 migrants and refugees to Belarus and send 5,000 others back to their homelands.
But that proposal was flatly rejected by Berlin and the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission.
“The idea of having a humanitarian corridor to Germany for 2,000 migrants is not a solution that is acceptable to Germany or the EU,” a German government spokesman said on Monday.
‘Increasingly dire’ conditions
Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, who reported from the village of Bruzgi, near Belarus’s border with Poland, said Lukashenko was now stepping up his rhetoric against the EU as part of a “last-ditch effort” to put pressure on the bloc after the refusal of his proposal.
Meanwhile, she said, conditions along the Belarus-Poland border were becoming “increasingly worse” for migrants and refugees still stranded there in icy conditions as winter approached.
Humanitarian agencies say as many as 13 people have died in the region, where many have suffered in cold, damp forests with little food or water.
Poland het accused Belarussian forces continue to transport migrants and refugees to the border, despite Minsk clearing the main camps along the barbed wire border last week.
Many of the migrants and refugees who camped along the border were placed in a nearby Belarusian warehouse after the clean-up operation.