Sunday, December 5, 2021

Belarus crisis Baerbock criticizes Merkel for making phone calls to Lukashenko

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Annalena Baerbock criticizes the Chancellor’s approach to the refugee crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be blackmailed by “dictators,” she said future Foreign Minister.

The new Foreign Minister-designate Annalena Baerbock has criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel’s telephone calls to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “It shouldn’t have been the Chancellor who called Lukashenko,” she said in the “Spiegel” interview, according to the preliminary report on Friday.

There is no “simple solution” to the crisis, but it is important that Poland and Germany “act together,” added Baerbock, referring to the criticism from Eastern Europe of the telephone calls.

The Greens co-leader accused Lukashenko of “double blackmail”: Refugees were “abused to divide Europe”. He also wanted to be recognized by the Europeans as a conversation partner, although he was suppressing the opposition. You shouldn’t “allow yourself to be blackmailed by dictators,” said Baerbock.

Nevertheless, she advocates a dialogue with the regime. “You cannot pursue foreign policy without dialogue,” she said. The people in the border area had to be cared for, including on Polish territory.

According to Kurdish information, hundreds of Iraqi refugees were flown out of Belarus on Friday. The Kurdish government of the autonomous region announced that two flights with around 600 mostly Kurdish Iraqis landed in Erbil on Friday morning. After arriving in Erbil, some passengers said they were relieved to be back home. “It was bad, it rained and snowed a lot,” said 11-year-old Malak Hassan, whose family tried to cross the Belarusian border into the EU.

Another man said he saw migrants beaten while camping near the Belarus-Lithuania border. He would not dare such a journey again. “We had to pay a lot of money just to get back to Minsk from the border.”

The EU accuses Belarus of bringing the people to Minsk. From there they are said to have been brought to the EU’s external borders and pressured to cross the border illegally.

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