The demand of the Belarusian authorities that Poland and Lithuania withdraw their ambassadors and significantly reduce their diplomatic representations in Minsk is unfounded and regrettable, Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said on October, 4.
According to him, the demand goes against the logic of dialogue and will only further isolate the authorities in Minsk.
“Attempts by the Belarusian authorities to target certain EU member states will not succeed in weakening EU unity, which was clearly reaffirmed by the European Council on 1 October when all EU member states called on the Belarusian authorities to end violence and repression, release all detainees and political prisoners, respect media freedom and civil society, and start an inclusive national dialogue,” the statement reads.
The EU continues to support the democratic right of the Belarusian people to elect their President through new free and fair elections, without external interference, Borrell added.
On October 2, Minsk announced recalling its ambassadors to Poland and Lithuania for consultations and encouraged the two neighbouring countries to do the same.
Moreover, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggested Poland and Lithuania cut the staff of their diplomatic missions in Belarus on principles of parity with the Belarusian diplomatic missions in these countries by October, 9 due to their ‘clearly destructive actions’. The ministry expects that the number of Lithuanian diplomatic staff is to be reduced from 25 to 14 diplomats; that of Poland – from 50 to 18.
In response, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry stated that it did not intend to recall its ambassador to Belarus for consultations or cut the embassy staff. Poland’s reaction was similar:
BY recalls it’s Ambassadors in PL and LT for consultations and expects 🇵🇱PL and 🇱🇹LT to do the same. Together with @LinkeviciusL, we believe that channels of communication must be preserved and we do not intend to recall our Ambassadors for consultation at this stage.
— Zbigniew Rau (@RauZbigniew) October 2, 2020
In turn, Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatol Hlaz said on Saturday that the proposals on the reduction of diplomats in the embassies of Poland and Lithuania were ‘mandatory’.