The Slovenian government has officially withdrawn its decision to consent to the opening of the Belarusian consulate. The Italian newspaper “Corriere Della Sera” states that Italy has not approved Belarusian ambassador Anatol Hlaz for several months.
On July 4, Slovenia officially withdrew its permission for the Belarusian Honorary Consulate in Ljubljana, headed by Janez Škrabec. The latter had been honorary consul in Slovenia since 2014 – in May, Slovenian Foreign Minister Ange Logar said he expected the consul to condemn the regime’s actions in Belarus.
The office of Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya recalls that during her visit to Slovenia, Tsikhanouskaya raised the consulate issue. Furthermore, the Cabinet claims that Škrabec’s company Riko signed more than 40 contracts with large Belarusian state-owned enterprises and that Škrabec lobbied the Belarusian regime’s interests in Slovakia helped get Lukashenka’s entourage out of the sanctions.
There was no official rejection of Anatol Hlaz‘s candidacy and official confirmation of the publication. However, it is impossible to appoint an ambassador without the permission of the host country. Belarus had not had an ambassador to Italy since July 20, 2020, when Alyaksandr Huryanau was dismissed “due to his transfer to another job” (first deputy foreign minister).
According to the Italian edition, the credentials for Hlaz “are not being touched,” although they are ready. This is explained by the fact that Hlaz is “a loyal official of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry,” appointed by “Europe’s last dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka.” Hlaz is remembered for his numerous harsh statements about Western countries. The Italian media also mentions the closure of airspace for Belarus in connection with the seizure of the Ryanair flight and Europe’s failure to recognize Lukashenka’s victory in the presidential election.
In this regard, says “Corriere Della Sera,” Italy will wait – like other European countries – to “temporarily suspend” the ambassador’s approval. The Italian media asked Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Pavel Latushka for comments on Hlaz’s possible appointment.
Anatol Hlaz already worked at the Belarusian embassy in Italy: from 2007 to 2009, he was the second and first secretary of the embassy. From 2014 to 2018, he was the senior advisor of the embassy.