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Conflict over immigrants: Merkel called 'Mr.' Lukashenko again

Conflict over immigrants: Merkel called ‘Mr.’ Lukashenko again

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) summoned Belarus Governor Alexander Lukashenko again over the crisis surrounding migrants at the Polish-Belarus border. This was announced by the Belarusian presidential office Wednesday in the capital, Minsk. Merkel and Lukashenko agreed on the need for talks between representatives of the European Union and Belarus to solve the problem.

Government spokesman, Stephen Seibert, said Merkel had called on Lukashenko to allow assistance from the United Nations and the European Union to migrants stranded at the border with Poland. Merkel stressed the need to provide humanitarian care and return opportunities for the affected people with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and in cooperation with the European Union Commission.

As stated in the press release after the first phone call, Seibert did not use the address Lukashenko, but referred to him as “Mr.” The background is that EU countries see election fraud and do not consider Lukashenko the legitimate president of his country. Seibert also dismissed criticism of the first phone call from, for example, politicians from the Green Party. The conversation was closely coordinated with the European Union Commission.

Other contacts agreed

Only on Monday did Merkel and Lukashenko have a phone call that, according to Belarus, lasted about 50 minutes. Belta stated that further contacts had been agreed upon.

After Merkel’s first conversation with Lukashenko since his controversial re-election as president in August last year, there has been some fierce criticism. The European Union no longer recognizes Lukashenko as president. The background to this lies in widespread allegations of electoral fraud and security forces’ actions against peaceful demonstrators and civil society.

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Thousands of migrants have been stranded at the Belarusian-Polish border for days. The European Union accuses Lukashenko of organizing migrants from crisis regions to the EU’s external borders in order to put pressure on them.