European ambassadors to leave Belarus

Belarusian MFA Press-Secretary Andrey Savinykh has recommended Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Belarus and Ambassador of Poland to Belarus to return to their capitals for consultations and informed that the authors of sanctions will be banned from entry to Belarus. The country has also recalled its own ambassadors from Brussels and Warsaw.

Head of the EU delegation to Belarus Majra Mora and Leszek Szerepka, the Polish Ambassador to Belarus, were invited to the Belarusian MFA, a diplomatic source informed Interfax agency.

In his statement published on the MFA’s web site, Press-Secretary Andrey Savinykh attacks the policy of sanctions and declares: «Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Belarus and Ambassador of Poland to Belarus have also received the recommendations to return to their capitals for consultations and to convey to their leadership a firm position of the Belarusian Side on inadmissibility of pressure and sanctions.»

«Belarus will ban from entering the country those persons from the EU Member States who contributed to the introduction of the sanctions against Belarus,» Savinykh points out.

In response, EU diplomats said on Tuesday evening that EU member countries’ ambassadors in Minsk will be withdrawn in solidarity, Polish information agency PAP reports with reference to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The decision was made at a meeting of EU ambassadors, where they also decided that countries where Belarus had an ambassador would call these in to issue a formal protest.

Poland, which has led the campaign to impose sanctions on Belarus, asserted Tuesday that Minsk’s latest move would not alter its condemnation of civil oppression. «We are not changing our stance about the necessity of the sanctions,» said Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said. «But it’s hard for me to comment on this particular situation.»

«It is for us as Europeans intolerable that human and civil rights be damaged in Belarus like this,» German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in an e-mailed statement today. «It is the last dictatorship in Europe.»

Belgian web site EUobserver throws out a suggestion that EU ambassadors will be recalled to Brussels otherwise Belarus will expel them. The same thing happened in 2008 with the US ambassador, the site reminds.

On February 27, 2012 European affairs ministers agreed an assets freeze and visa ban against 19 magistrates and two highly placed police officers who are suspected of stifling Belarus’ political opposition.

The Council of the EU Foreign Ministers is to look at a comprehensive list of Belarusian entities and businessmen to be added to the sanctions list, Catherine Ashton stated at a press conference in Brussels on February 27, 2012. She reminded the EU Council had earlier adopted a regulation broadening the criteria of applying sanctions to Belarusian individuals and companies involved in human rights and freedoms violations. The EU adopted the criteria for slapping sanctions to touch the people responsible for the ongoing human rights violations and supporting or benefiting from the Lukashenka regime, Ashton noted.


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