FM Dendias at informal UN Security Council: Pressure on Lukashenko regime must increase

The United Nations must respond to the Alexander Lukashenko regime’s attempts to use refugees and migrants as political tools, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias said on Friday in a taped message to an Arria-formula UN Security Council meeting.

The Security Council’s informal and confidential meeting on the situation in Belarus was organized by Estonia.

Dendias said that the Greek position supports the right of the people of Belarus to a democratic government, and he condemned the violations of human rights and the disrespect to the state of law. He also recalled the diversion of Ryanair flight heading to Vilnius from Athens in May 2021 when it changed course ad landed in Belarus – an act the minister has repeatedly referred to as piracy – saying that Greece “is further examining this issue, including further reactions to it.”

The Greek minister called for wide talks on how to handle Belarus developments, and said Greece has actively supported all EU decisions on the issue so far that add pressure to Lukashenko’s regime. He added he also had had the opportunity to meet several times with Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Athens to express Greece’s support.

“Despite our common efforts, the Lukashenko regime has shown no intention to change its behavior. On the contrary, it has adopted pressure tacticts on certain EU member states and the Union as a whole, such as instrumentalizing refugees and migrants to force us to change our policy,” he said.

This must not happen, he said, but the international bodies “must add more pressure to Lukashenko, through further actions,” in a comprehensive and collective manner.