Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday that his country does not want the migrant crisis on its border with Poland to escalate into a “conflict.”
“We do not want any conflict on our state border. This is completely detrimental for us,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by state news agency Belta.
Lukashenko also said that his country was working on repatriating the migrants, mostly from the Middle East, who are stuck at Belarus’s border with EU member Poland.
“Active work is underway in this area, to convince people – please, return home. But nobody wants to go back,” Lukashenko said, as quoted by state news agency Belta.
Germany warns of sanctions
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned Monday as he arrived for a meeting with EU colleagues that Belarus faces tougher sanctions over the migrant crisis on the Polish border.
Lukashenko appeared to be trying to defuse the crisis, insisting he does not want a conflict, but Maas warned that Brussels was in no mood to back down.
“Lukashenko demands that we remove all sanctions. We will give our answer today. We will further tighten sanctions,” he said, as the EU foreign ministers gathered.
France on Monday told Britain to stop “giving lessons” on migrants in an increasingly acrimonious row between London and Paris over the numbers crossing the Channel.
“Britain is in no position to be giving lessons to us,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told Cnews television ahead of talks with his British counterpart Priti Patel later Monday. Britain “should stop using us as a punch-ball in their domestic politics,” he added.