EU crisis meeting to discuss the increase in migrants from Belarus to Lithuania

The flags of the European Union flutter in front of the headquarters of the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, May 5, 2021. REUTERS / Yves Herman / File Photo

BRUSSELS, August 6 (Reuters) – At an extraordinary meeting on August 18, the interior ministers of the European Union will discuss an increase in illegal border crossings from Belarus to the EU member state Lithuania, the Slovenian EU Council Presidency announced on Friday.

Representatives of the EU border agency Frontex and Europol will also take part in the video conference, according to a letter from Slovenia to EU diplomats that Reuters saw.

“With the situation on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, the EU is exposed to a serious security threat and is witnessing a state-sponsored weaponization of illegal migration in Belarus,” says the text.

Slovenia urged action, saying one goal of the meeting is to agree measures to protect this part of the EU’s external border and to continue to support Lithuania.

The European Union called the Belarusian envoy to Brussels on Wednesday and held talks with the Iraqi government after accusing Belarus of using illegal migrants, particularly Iraqis, as a political weapon against the EU sanctions imposed on Minsk.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and other EU officials have also sought a solution with the Iraqi government that could include the suspension of flights from Baghdad to Minsk.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, writing by Sabine Siebold, editing by Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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