Thursday December 09, 2021

Merkel stresses German solidarity with Poland on Belarus crisis

Published : 26 Nov 2021, 04:18

  DF News Desk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during the handover of the Christmas tree at the Federal Chancellery by the Federation of German Forest Owners' Associations. Photo: Carsten Koall/dpa.

Chancellor Angela Merkel assured Poland of Germany's support in the crisis along its border with Belarus while holding talks with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Berlin on Thursday, reported dpa.

Merkel said after meeting Morawiecki: "We are of the same opinion with regard to the nature of the crisis that we are in and with regard to the question of how it is to be resolved."

The German chancellor, who is set to leave office early next month, defended her decision to speak by phone to Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko in the face of opposition from Poland and other Eastern European countries.

She described Lukashenko as the point of contact when it came to humanitarian provision for the thousands of refugees that were encamped on the border in freezing conditions.

Merkel assured Poland of Germany's "full solidarity." If there was no progress in the crisis, further sanctions targeting Lukashenko would have to be considered, she said.

"We have to be united among us Europeans," she said, while insisting that the door to dialogue had to remain open.

Morawiecki emphasized that Poland was protecting the European Union's external border. "In this connection, we are also defending Germany from a large wave of refugees, as Lukashenko has tried to test this border," he said.

Poland, supported by Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, had at the same time ensured by diplomatic means that countries in the Middle East had halted flights carrying refugees to Belarus, he said.