Switzerland’s justice minister, Karin Keller-Sutter, has called for humanitarian aid for migrants stuck at the European Union’s eastern border but says Europe must not give in to blackmail by Belarus.
In an interview with the Friday edition of the free newspaper 20 Minuten, Keller-Sutter says she is “outraged” to see the humanitarian tragedy unfolding on the Belarus-Poland border where thousands of migrants are stuck in freezing temperatures, but that the crisis had been provoked by authoritarian Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
“The people who are now standing at the border in Poland and Lithuania come with visas issued by Belarus,” she told the paper. “One must assume that the country is protesting against the EU sanctions.”
Western members of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday adopted a strong statement condemning Belarus for the escalating migrant crisis on its border with Poland, and accusing Minsk of using the migrants to destabilise the EU’s eastern border. Russia rejected the statement.
The Swiss minister, who is also responsible for migration issues, told 20 Minuten Belarus was trying to destabilise the EU by “producing” migration flows, and that Turkey had already tried something similar.
She said the EU must react clearly, but that “distributing the people among the Schengen states is out of the question, otherwise the blackmail would have worked”.
“It is illegal migration, the people have to be repatriated,” she told the newspaper. Keller-Sutter also said part of the solution lay with Russia, the main ally of Belarus.
Source: Swiss Info