Will Minsk and Brussels jointly find a way out of the migration crisis Belarus and the European Union will jointly deal with the migration crisis. An agreement on this became possible after intervention in the search for a solution by Angela Merkel
What the leaders of Belarus and Germany agreed on
On Wednesday, November 17, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko held his second telephone conversation this week with Acting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The parties did not report in detail about what was discussed on Monday during their first after almost a year's break in communication, since the head of the German government was supposed to discuss the proposals of Minsk with colleagues in the European Union. Some details of the first conversation on November 17 were disclosed by Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets: according to her, the Belarusian president put forward an ultimatum & mdash; ending the migration crisis in exchange for recognizing the legitimacy of his power and lifting all Western sanctions against Belarus.
As a result of the second conversation between Lukashenko and Merkel, the press service of the Belarusian president said: the parties reached an understanding that the problem as a whole should be brought up to the level of Belarus and the EU, they will identify persons who will immediately enter into negotiations in order to resolve the existing problems. International organizations will also take part in this & mdash; the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, insisted on this. The work will also take into account the wishes of migrants to go to Germany.
On November 17, the European Commission issued a statement that the EU will allocate & euro; 700 thousand to help migrants, of which 200 thousand will be distributed through the Belarusian branch of Krasnoye Cross.
From the very beginning of the migration crisis, Lukashenka's task was to be recognized as a legitimate leader controlling the processes going on in the country, believes the Belarusian political scientist Artem Shraibman. As a result, Lukashenka achieved telephone conversations with Merkel and put forward his own conditions for them; at the same time Lukashenka showed that he understands the limits of permissible confrontation, the expert adds.
The dialogue between the EU and Minsk was interrupted in August last year, following the numerous violations of the presidential elections in the republic; EU countries do not recognize Lukashenko as a legitimate president, and his official position is not listed on the website of the German Chancellor. The EU responded to the harsh suppression of protests and massive repressions after the elections with sanctions not only against Belarusian officials, but also with sectoral economic sanctions. The political dialogue was also curtailed.
“ Probably, we can say that Lukashenka got what he wanted, & mdash; interaction with the European Union will begin, & mdash; summarizes the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine Fedor Lukyanov. & Mdash; However, if he believes that he is legitimized in this way, then this is not the case & mdash; he is recognized as a partner on a specific issue of importance to the EU, but this will not in any way affect the solution of other issues. '' But Lukashenko & mdash; As an experienced politician, starting work does not mean that the crisis will be immediately resolved, this decision rather opens up opportunities for bargaining, adds Lukyanov.
What happens at the border
In recent days, the pressure on Minsk from the European Union has been growing. Brussels announced the introduction of sanctions for the use of migrants as a political tool. The new sanctions package may affect both companies and individuals, and its final details will be agreed upon in the coming days. It is already known that the EU is going to terminate the aircraft lease contracts with the Belarusian state company Belavia. “ Or else they will have to return these planes, or, as I understand it, they will go to court, '' & mdash; Reuters quotes Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.
The situation at the border also worsened. On Wednesday night, migrants again attempted to break through the Polish border using the same methods as on Tuesday, said Polish Foreign Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. According to him, while public attention is riveted to the border checkpoint “ Forge '' Bruzgi, '' small groups of migrants are trying to break into Poland at other sections of the border. In total, on Tuesday, the Polish side recorded 161 attempts to break through the border, of which nine were successful.
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Polish side used water cannons to disperse migrants on the border with Belarus. According to Warsaw, this method had to be resorted to due to the fact that people from the Middle East began to throw gas grenades at border guards, which were supplied by the Belarusian authorities. Nine Polish officers were injured, including one border guard and a military man. In Minsk, they announced chemical burns that migrants received due to the use of water cannons by the Polish side using an unidentified chemical. The Investigative Committee of Belarus opened a criminal case under Art. 128 of the Criminal Code (crime against the security of mankind) in connection with the actions of the Polish law enforcement forces.
Blaschak does not expect a quick resolution of the crisis. “ We must be prepared for the fact that the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border will not be resolved quickly. We need to prepare for the fact that this will drag on for months, if not years '', & mdash; he said before the conversation between Lukashenko and Merkel.
How Minsk will use new forms of pressure
On Wednesday, Minsk suspended oil transit to Poland via the Druzhba pipeline for several days. According to official explanations, this is not due to the migration crisis, but to repairs at one of the sites. 'Since yesterday' Gomeltransneft ' began unscheduled repairs on one of the branches of the Druzhba main oil pipeline, limiting pumping in the direction of Adamova Zastava (Poland) for approximately three days, while the planned target of the month is not being revised, '', '' mdash; said the representative of Transneft Igor Demin.
Last week Lukashenko warned that he was ready for a tough response to possible EU sanctions, including the readiness to shut off the Yamal gas pipeline. Europe '', which carries natural gas from Russia to Poland and Germany. Russian President Vladimir Putin then stated that the Belarusian leader did not discuss such actions with him, and added that the gas cut-off would be a violation of the contract. The Polish side with its comments on the situation dispelled political fears, writes the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza. “ The monthly volume of raw materials must be sold as planned. The Polish oil transfer system is fully protected and works continuously ',' mdash; written by the press secretary of the Polish operator Katarzyna Krasińska.
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