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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Polish MPs vote to extend state of emergency on Belarus border

01.10.2021 00:01
Polish lawmakers late on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to extend a state of emergency on their country's eastern border with Belarus by two months amid a mounting migrant crisis.
Audio
  • Polish MPs vote to extend state of emergency on Belarus border
Polish MPs on Thursday voted 237 to 175, with 31 abstentions, to extend a state of emergency in parts of two regions along Polands eastern border with Belarus by two months amid a mounting migrant crisis.
Polish MPs on Thursday voted 237 to 175, with 31 abstentions, to extend a state of emergency in parts of two regions along Poland's eastern border with Belarus by two months amid a mounting migrant crisis.Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

The 237-175 vote, with 31 abstentions, came after the Polish president asked parliament to approve the government’s request for a 60-day extension in the state of emergency in parts of two regions along Poland's eastern border with Belarus in a bid to stem the flow of migrants from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The government on Tuesday decided to ask President Andrzej Duda to prolong the special measures, which were originally introduced in the border areas on September 3 for a month, state news agency PAP reported.

Government spokesman Piotr Müller told reporters at the time that the situation on the border remained “very difficult" due to “a hybrid war” being waged by the regime of Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko.

The Polish president told a news conference this week that the 60-day extension seemed "justified at this moment in time" due to mounting "pressure on the frontier." 

He also said that the state of emergency needed to be extended so that Polish officials and troops could "carry out their tasks effectively.”

Duda made that statement after conferring with officials including Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak as well as the leaders of the army and the Border Guard.

On Monday, Kamiński said that roughly one in 10 illegal migrants detained at the frontier with Belarus was “potentially linked to terrorist groups.”

Poland and fellow EU members Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have accused Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko of organising a wave of illegal migrants seeking to enter the bloc as part of what officials have called a "hybrid war."

The state of emergency gives authorities broader powers to monitor and control the movement of people on the Polish-Belarusian border, which is also the eastern border of the European Union.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info