EU ENVOYS RETURNING TO BELARUS AFTER SPAT OVER HUMAN RIGHTS
- Britain is sending its ambassador back to Belarus in line with a similar move by other European Union governments, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, April 25 following a diplomatic spat with the former Soviet republic over human rights, Reuters reported.
EU states withdrew their ambassadors from Minsk in February in a solidarity gesture after Belarus told representatives from Brussels and Warsaw to leave. Earlier, the bloc had tightened sanctions against the country.
"All EU ambassadors are returning to Minsk, including our own ambassador," a spokesman for Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Reuters, without giving exact details of when the representative would return.
The 27-member bloc ordered their envoys home on February 28 after relations with Minsk soured following President Alexander Lukashenko's crackdown on the opposition after his re-election for a fourth term in December 2010.
Earlier this month Lukashenko pardoned a key political prisoner and his former rival in the race for presidency, Andrei Sannikov, a move long urged by the EU.
Poland, Lithuania and Sweden sent their representatives back to Minsk on Wednesday. "Other ambassadors will return over the next hours and days," Poland's Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki said.
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