Poland seeks to de-escalate tensions at Belarus border, PM says
Poland is not looking for conflict on its border with Belarus, the site of a migration crisis, the Polish prime minister said on Wednesday.
Mateusz Morawiecki was speaking after meeting Janez Jansa, his Slovenian counterpart, in Ljubljana as part of a tour of European capitals to discuss the crisis on Poland's eastern border.
He said Poland was prepared to take further steps against Belarus, if need be, but would prefer to "de-escalate" the situation.
"We have prepared an 'escalation ladder' towards Belarus, which assumes shutting down further border crossings and trade, but we do not want to do this... we want to work towards de-escalation," he told a press conference following the talks with Jansa.
Morawiecki said that his Slovenian counterpart perfectly understood all the complex issues Poland faces.
"By acting alone, our countries are not able to cope with the neo-imperial attempts by our large eastern neighbour, Russia; but acting together, we can oppose them, we can propose a peace policy, but if necessary ... also a strengthening of certain sanctions we have prepared for Belarus if the situation becomes increasingly tense," he said.
Leading Polish officials have said on numerous occasions that the Kremlin is behind the border crisis.
Morawiecki, in a recent interview with the German newspaper Bild, said that when it comes to potential threats from Belarus and Russia, "nothing can be ruled out."
"(Belarusian leader Alexander - PAP) Lukashenko and (Russian President Vladimir - PAP) Putin are clearly pursuing a strategy of causing unrest and destabilising the West," he told the German paper.
Morawiecki also recalled the time when Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovenia opposed the "borderless" migration policy.
"What kind of state is it, if it cannot defend its borders, is it really sovereign?" he asked.
"For me, the answer is unequivocal: to be sovereign, it must be able to decide who enters its territory and, of course, show the maximum possible empathy and support towards other countries," Morawiecki said.