Polish PM considering asking for emergency NATO talks after Belarus border clash

·2-min read
Polish PM considering asking for emergency NATO talks after Belarus border clash

The Polish prime minister has said he is considering demanding emergency NATO talks over a dispute with Belarus over migrants.

Mateusz Morawiecki said he may request talks under Article 4 of the NATO treaty which allows any ally to request consultations if it feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened..

The authoritarian Belarusian regime in Minsk has for months been accused of orchestrating a flow of migrants across its border into the three European Union nations, which form the eastern flank of both the EU and NATO.

A large group of migrants appeared on Poland’s border nearly a week ago which has stoked up the tensions.

In a separate incident earlier, about 50 migrants broke through a border barrier by force near a different border village, Starzyna, police reported. On Saturday Poland also reported that Belarusian forces were using a vehicle to try to dismantle a border fence and were using lasers to blind Polish forces.

Morawiecki vowed that Poland’s border with Belarus “will be an effective and final barrier” to actions by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

He added: “It seems that it is needed more and more. Because it is not enough just to publicly express our concern - now concrete steps and commitment of the entire alliance are needed. There is no doubt that things have gone too far.”

The EU accuses Lukashenko of encouraging the migrants to breech the borders in retaliation for sanctions on his repressive rule.

Belarus denies the allegations, but warned last summer that it will no longer stop migrants and refugees seeking to enter the 27-nation EU.

Many migrants are now stuck in makeshift camps in freezing weather as Poland has reinforced its border with 15,000 soldiers in addition to border guards and police.

Most are fleeing conflict, poverty or hopelessness in Syria and Iraq and hope to reach Germany or elsewhere in western Europe.

Poland’s Border Guard agency said it has recorded over 33,000 illegal attempts to cross its border from Belarus so far this year, up from 120 last year.

Polish forces generally push people back across the border. Yet German authorities say that they have recorded more than 9,000 arrivals of migrants who have come through Belarus.

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