Merkel talks with Lukashenko about situation at EU's external border

In view of the worsening situation at the EU border with Belarus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with Belarusian ruler Lukashenko.

Merkel spricht mit Lukaschenko über Lage an EU-Außengrenze

Berlin/Minsk (dpa) - Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken on the phone with Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko in view of the growing plight of several thousand migrants at the EU's external border between Poland and Belarus. This was announced by government spokesperson Steffen Seibert in Berlin, who explained that the telephone conversation addressed "the difficult situation at the border between Belarus and the European Union".

According to a report on Belarusian state television, the conversation lasted about 50 minutes. One of the topics discussed was how to prevent an escalation of the situation at the border. The question of humanitarian support for those migrants stuck in the border area was also raised. According to Seibert, Merkel and Lukashenko have agreed to hold further talks.

It was the first time Merkel had spoken to Lukashenko since the disputed presidential election in Belarus in August of last year. The EU no longer recognises him as president because of the security forces' crackdown on peaceful demonstrators. Sanctions have been imposed on the country. The EU accuses Lukashenko of arranging for refugees to be transported from crisis regions to the EU's external border.