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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

EU FMs agree to slap sanctions on Belarus over migrants: Polish official

19.10.2021 09:30
The European Union's top diplomats have agreed to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for a migrant crisis on the Polish border, a Polish deputy foreign minister has said.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz.PAP/Piotr Nowak

EU foreign ministers gathered in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss the situation on the Polish-Belarusian frontier, among other topics, news agencies reported.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz told reporters afterwards that he had briefed the meeting “extensively” on what was going on at the border, the causes of the migrant crisis and the "political objectives" of Belarus's strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko. 

“A large majority of countries expressed solidarity with Poland," Przydacz said, as quoted by Polish state news agency PAP"We agreed that a reaction was necessary with regard to the Belarusian regime,” he added.

“A decision was made to take action with respect to a fifth package of sanctions, to be put on specific officials responsible for this crisis, as well as for not respecting human rights,” Przydacz also said.

Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency reported that the tightening of sanctions would follow broad measures originally imposed on Belarus's economy in June, over Lukashenko's crackdown on protesters following his disputed re-election in August 2020.

Przydacz told reporters that new sanctions could be slapped on specific companies, and that measures would be taken to combat crime gangs and the use of airlines to transfer migrants to Belarus.

He added that the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, had pledged to take action in the migrants’ countries of origin and in transit areas.

Przydacz also said that the Polish border was "well protected" and that "Poland’s policy has met with support from our friends at the European Council.” 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after the EU meeting there would be further talks over the coming days, Reuters reported.

Poland’s envoy to the EU, Andrzej Sadoś, on Friday told his counterparts from other member states that Belarus was continuing its efforts to destabilise Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as the EU as a whole, by cynically sending migrants, including women and children, across the bloc’s external border, the PAP news agency reported.

Sadoś said his country was urging the United Nations to work with Minsk to avert a potential humanitarian crisis, according to PAP.  

Sadoś also appealed for political support from Brussels in combating a Belarusian disinformation drive that he said was seeking to portray the EU countries as responsible for the situation on the bloc’s external frontier, PAP reported.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, Reuters