Direct talks with Lukashenka legitimise his regime: PM

One needs to be aware of the fact that any direct talks with Alyaksandr Lukashenka legitimise his regime, Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s Prime Minister warned on Thursday.

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The PM said that Poland was taking steps and “conducting talks at the highest level to resolve the problem of illegal migration (...) on the basis of international agreements.”

He argued that only multilateral cooperation among countries that were “victims of Lukashenka's illegal actions” could provide a proper response to the threat, and return “the victims of hybrid warfare” to their countries of origin.

His warning came not long after German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked with Mr Lukashenka by telephone in an attempt to seek a solution to the crisis.

Mateusz Morawiecki said he had told Ms Merkel that no deals concerning Poland should be made without his government's consent. “Nothing about us without us,” he said, adding that Ms Merkel had accepted his position.

The prime minister went on to reject proposals to establish a humanitarian corridor.

“Of course, if Germany wants to lay on planes and transport to the West from the territory of another country, then that is their prerogative, but I warn against it because every such move will embolden Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his de facto power broker to continue his actions,” he continued.

In his opinion, a corridor would also give “unnecessary hope to people smugglers that their actions could be successful,” arguing that a firm stance on border defence was preferable as it would encourage migrants to return home.

Warsaw accuses Minsk of engineering the migration crisis at Belarusian borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia as a hybrid war tactic aimed at destabilising the EU.