The Polish head of state told the gathering on Tuesday in New York that Minsk was trying “to orchestrate an artificial humanitarian crisis,” by bringing in “thousands of desperate residents of the Middle East” and then “forcing them, under police batons, to cross the border” to Poland, Lithuania or Latvia.
Duda said migrants were being used by Belarus “as pawns in a political game” designed “to undermine the security of our frontiers,” with Warsaw’s offers of humanitarian assistance “falling on deaf ears.”
“We will not waver in this crisis,” the president said, adding Poland could “tell the difference” between a humanitarian situation and deliberate "hybrid actions." He also called on Minsk to release all political prisoners.
Continuing his speech, the president told the UN that the COVID-19 pandemic had overshadowed the plight of countries such as Syria, Ethiopia, Yemen and Ukraine.
He warned that Kyiv has had its safety further undermined by the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which links “the Russian aggressor” with Germany.
Meanwhile, Poland’s priority is to “work towards ensuring compliance with international law and stand up for those most vulnerable, such as civilians in armed conflicts and religious minorities,” Duda said.
Warsaw will pursue these aims “at the UN Human Rights Council and in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” he added, noting that Warsaw was set to preside over the OSCE in 2022.
Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, the Polish president voiced “serious doubts” whether the world’s “rich North” had passed the “solidarity test.”
He said Poland had donated 6 million vaccine doses to poorer countries, while also sending doctors to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Polish doctors have also helped in countries such as the United States and Italy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Duda noted.
For all such efforts, “I believe our part of humanity still has a lot to answer for,” Duda stressed.
He added there were similar question marks over whether the rich countries were doing enough to tackle climate change, “in the name of a secure future for us all and for our children.”
In this context, Duda praised his country for reducing CO2 emissions “by more than 30 percent between 1988 and 2016,” but conceded that “this is merely the beginning of the road.”
In conclusion, the Polish president appealed for “respect for international law” and urged the UN community “to be courageous in setting and delivering ambitious goals in the fight for the planet,” in accordance with “the enduring human desire” to live in “a world based on solidarity."
Source: PAP, prezydent.pl
Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.