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EU to slap new sanctions on Belarus over migrant crisis — EU summit statement

It is stated that the European Council will not accept "any attempt by third countries to instrumentalise migrants for political purposes"

BRUSSELS, October 22. /TASS/. The European Union is poised to impose a new round of sanctions on the Belarusian authorities over the situation with migrants who are illegally transported by Minsk to the European Union, the European Council said in the conclusions adopted after the EU summit in Brussels on Friday.

"The EU will continue countering the ongoing hybrid attack launched by the Belarusian regime, including by adopting further restrictive measures against persons and legal entities, in line with its gradual approach, as a matter of urgency," the statement says.

According to the statement, the European Council will tolerate no attempts by third countries to exploit migrants for political purposes.

"The European Council will not accept any attempt by third countries to instrumentalise migrants for political purposes. It condemns all hybrid attacks at the EU’s borders and will respond accordingly," it reads.

Moreover, the summit conclusions stress that the EU calls for the return to the implementation of readmission agreements, which will allow expelling migrants.

"The European Council recalls the need to ensure effective returns and full implementation of readmission agreements and arrangements, using the necessary leverage," the conclusions say.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said that Brussels would be negotiating the issue with the authorities of those countries from which migrants were coming to the European Union via Belarus.

"No one’s lives should be used for political issues, and this is an instrumentalisation of migration to put political pressure on the European Union," von der Leyen said.

She added that the European Commission would not fund the construction of border walls at the EU borders, which the Eastern European countries were insisting on.

"I was very clear that there is a longstanding view in the European Commission and in the European Parliament that there will be no funding of barbed wire and walls," she said.

In late May, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that his country had served as a barrier on illegal migrants’ routes, but due to the West’s political pressure, Minsk might consider whether it was worth continuing to do so. Poland declared a state of emergency in the areas bordering Belarus due to the situation with migrants.