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Foreign Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (365)

Ivana Bacik

Question:

365. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has spoken with his Polish counterpart to discuss the current situation at the Polish-Belarussian border. [61872/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland stands in solidarity with Poland and other affected Member States amid this deeply challenging situation at the Polish-Belarusian border. We are mindful that frontline EU Member States like Poland face immense pressures and we recognise that the unprecedented state of affairs at the Polish-Belarusian border has been a major factor in Poland’s state of emergency decision.

Nevertheless, we are very concerned for those migrants at the border and we would appeal to Poland to consider admitting international humanitarian organisations into the relevant area to assist with meeting migrants’ urgent and basic needs. Independent media access should also be facilitated. Furthermore, we would ask that Poland consider the possibility of accepting help and input from EU sources like Frontex. While the instrumentalisation of migrants by President Lukashenko’s regime is to be condemned and the EU’s territorial integrity needs to be maintained, EU values must be respected and Europe’s humanitarian obligations under the Geneva Conventions upheld.

At the November Foreign Affairs Council, I joined in discussions on this issue with my fellow Foreign Ministers where we gave political approval to the fifth package of sanctions, co-sponsored by Ireland.

On a visit to Poland in December, my colleague, Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, TD, met with Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Marcin Przydacz, Undersecretary of State for Security, the Americas, Asia and Eastern Policy. Their discussions included developments at the Poland-Belarus border as well as migration and Minister Byrne expressed Ireland’s position to Minister Prydacz. Furthermore, on a visit to Lithuania in October, Minister Byrne visited the Lithuanian-Belarusian border and saw first-hand the challenging situation in the region.

This dialogue and experience will inform Ireland’s engagement at EU level with all our fellow Member States, including Poland, to ensure Europe is equipped to deal with its migration challenges in a comprehensive and effective but also humane manner.

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