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EU Partially Suspends Visa Facilitation For Belarusian Officials


The European Council has partially suspended its visa-facilitation agreement with Belarus over the "hybrid attack" Minsk has launched against the European Union by fostering a migrant crisis along the Poland-Belarus border.

The suspension of parts of the agreement will not affect ordinary citizens, the European Council said in announcing the move on November 9.

However, Belarusian officials will no longer be able to waive requirements for documents or be privy to reduced visa-application fees.

"We strongly condemn and reject the continued instrumentalization of migration by the Belarus regime," said Slovenian Interior Minister Ales Hojs, who chairs the Home Affairs Council.

"It is unacceptable for Belarus to play with people's lives for political purposes. Today's decision shows once again our joint commitment to continue countering this ongoing hybrid attack."

The decision came after Poland on November 9 closed a crossing along its border with Belarus after migrants on the Belarusian side attempted to break through a fence to enter the EU country.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter on November 9 that "the stability and security of the entire EU is at stake," due to the migrant crisis, which has left as many as 4,000 migrants stranded along the Poland-Belarus border.

The massing of people at the border escalates a crisis that has been going on for months, with the EU accusing Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka of flying migrants from the Middle East and Africa to Minsk and then sending them to its borders with EU members Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland.

Lukashenka denies the accusation.

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