Uzbekistan restricts travel to Belarus to help EU with border crisis

Uzbekistan has imposed restrictions on flights to Belarus for transit passengers from a half-dozen countries to help deter efforts by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko to destabilize Poland and other EU countries by pushing irregular migrants across the border, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced Monday.

Borrell, posting on Twitter, expressed appreciation for Uzbekistan’s “prompt response to close this new human trafficking route.” His announcement came after a meeting with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, at a gathering of EU and Central Asian diplomats.

The restrictions apply to certain transit passengers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Yemen, an EU diplomat said. Borrell and Kamilov had discussed the plan during a dinner meeting in Brussels on November 16.

Ministers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended the conference in Dushanbe to discuss an array of regional issues and partnership initiatives with the EU, including efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan following this summer’s U.S.-led withdrawal of Western military forces.

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