Europe

Germany denies Lukashenko remarks on accepting refugees

'I would like to say very clearly for Chancellor and Federal Government that this statement is wrong,' Merkel's spokesperson says

Oliver Towfigh Nia   | 26.11.2021
Germany denies Lukashenko remarks on accepting refugees

BERLIN

The German government on Friday again denied statements by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to the admission of 2,000 refugees from his country.

"I would like to say very clearly for the Chancellor and the Federal Government that this statement is wrong," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told media representatives in Berlin.

Lukashenko had previously said during a visit to the emergency shelter for refugees in the town of Bruzgi on the border with Poland: "2,000 people -- that's not a big problem for Germany."

Merkel agrees with this, the Belarusian leader alleged.

Lukashenko had already made a similar statement after two phone calls with Merkel a few days ago, prompting a clear denial that came from Berlin at that time.

Germany has been steadfast in its refusal to take in refugees stranded on the Belarusian-Polish border.

"If we took in refugees, if we bowed to the pressure and said 'we are taking refugees into European countries,' then this would mean implementing the very basis of this perfidious strategy," Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was quoted saying earlier this month during a news conference in Warsaw.

Berlin accuses Minsk of having deliberately masterminded the refugee crisis by flying in migrants from the Middle East and pushing them to attempt to cross illegally into Poland and Lithuania. The Belarusian government denies the accusations.

"We are talking about an irregular and perfidious migration which is being organized by Belarus with a degree of support from Russia," Seehofer said.

Meanwhile, Germany supports Poland's aggressive strong-arm tactics in pushing back the migrants from its border region with Belarus.

"The Poles are not only following their own interests. They are also acting in the interests of the whole European Union," Seehofer said.

Merkel also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to help end the Polish-Belarusian border crisis.

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