Poland may send medical aid to Syria: FM
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland may send medical aid to Syria to expand hospitals near its borders and in some cases also offer treatment in Poland, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has said.
A camp for Syrian Refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Cmacauley.
He said that Poland is not able to offer as much aid as Western European countries do.
But he said that Poland’s “heart is broken at sights from Syria, from its Turkish, Jordanian and Lebanese borders,” adding that these are areas where Poland wants to channel as much help as it can.
Currently, Poland supports Syria through contributions to European funds, Waszczykowski said, as well as its own aid programmes, which he said would be expanded.
On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło said the country planned to allocate some PLN 4 million (USD 1 million) to the rebuilding of homes in war-torn Syria.
Meanwhile, Waszczykowski reiterated that Poland would not agree to “forced relocation of so-called refugees”, referring to an EU decision that each bloc country would accept a number of asylum seekers over two years.
The decision, taken in September 2015, aimed to alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy, which have seen the arrival of tens of thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East.
EU leaders agreed to relocate a total of about 160,000 refugees of more than two million people who arrived in Europe since 2015.
However, only 14,000 people from refugee camps in countries along the Mediterranean coast have been relocated in the EU. Poland has not yet taken in any of the refugees – the country had been obliged to accept 6,200.
Waszczykowski said the word “relocation” was a euphemism for “forced displacement”.
“We cannot agree to this, because we believe that most of these people do not want to come to Poland,” he said.
He added that forced relocation had bad connotations in Poland. “In our history we have been forcibly relocated to Auschwitz and Syberia,” he said.
Waszczykowski also rejected claims that Poland could be fined for failing to meet the terms of the EU decision, saying that there is no treaty which obligates a country to take in migrants and refugees relocated en masse. (vb/pk)