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Belarus: Border migrants should go to Germany

Minsk - Belarus has announced the possible relocation of several thousand border migrants to Germany. The press chief of ruler Alexander Lukashenko, Natallia Eismant, said on Thursday that Belarus would support 5,000 immigrants in their return to their home countries.

2,000 more are to be accepted by the European Union. Lukashenko suggested this to Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call. Merkel should now talk to the heads of government of the other EU member states about the possibility and also negotiate a "humanitarian corridor to Germany".

Merkel had previously phoned Lukashenko a second time. A confirmation from the German side has not yet been received. The spokesman for Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer denied the number of 2,000 on Thursday afternoon. In the evening, Seehofer also expressed himself and assured that Germany would not accept the offer. One is ready to contribute to the humanitarian care of the refugees on the Belarusian side, said Seehofer according to Bild. "What we will not do, that we take in refugees, that we give in to the pressure."

According to Eismant, the proposal came from Lukashenko. She stressed that Belarus stood by its obligations. “Unfortunately, only about 400 refugees have agreed to return to their homeland. The aircraft that took off today carried 374 passengers, mostly Iraqi nationals."

Lukashenko had already offered at the beginning of the week that the state airline Belavia could fly migrants to Germany if Poland did not set up a “humanitarian corridor” for this purpose. "We will send them to Munich with our own planes, if necessary." He was reacting to the announcement from the Bavarian capital that they were ready to take in migrants from Belarus.

The former Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) had previously spoken out in favor of allowing migrants to enter the EU in a one-off humanitarian step in order to be able to apply for asylum there. "We need a quick, humanitarian solution for the desperate people who are abused by smugglers and who persevere at the border under unworthy conditions," said Schäuble.

Tense situation in the border area
The situation in the border area has been tense for weeks, but worsened again on Monday after more than 3,000 migrants left their camps in Belarus for the border crossing in Bruzgi, Belarus. There they set up a makeshift camp made of tents and sleeping bags and camped at the border facility for the night.

On Tuesday, the migrants tried to break through the border fortifications by force and penetrate into Polish territory. Polish border guards used water cannons and tear gas against the intruders. After the failed attempt, the majority of the migrants were then taken to a Belarusian logistics center a bit away from the border, where they could spend the night in warehouses.

For months, Lukashenko had had masses of migrants brought to the national borders with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in order to put the European Union under pressure in revenge for sanctions. To this end, Belarus made it possible for citizens of certain countries such as Syria or Iraq to enter Minsk in a simplified or visa-free manner, in order to then forward them to the EU's external borders.

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