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Archive for Belarus

Newsline: Belarus’ foreign policy to remain unchanged after top diplomat’s death

Belarus’ foreign policy course will not be changed after the death of Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, regardless of who takes his office, Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the Institute of CIS Countries, told TASS on Sunday. The expert argued that Makei “once used to be a kind of a leader of the pro-Western faction in [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko’s team.” “He was pursuing a policy that was dictated by Lukashenko. So, I don’t think that there will be any cardinal changes in Belarus’ policy to other countries,” Zharikhin said. (https://tass.com/world/1542435) Vladimir Makei died on Saturday at the age of 64. He worked at the Council of Europe and headed the European Cooperation Department of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. He was appointed foreign minister in August 2012.

Newsline: Belarusian foreign minister dies without official explanation

The Belarusian Foreign Minister, Vladimir Makei, has died mysteriously. According to Belarus-owned news agency Belta, Mr Makei “died suddenly” at the age of 64, having served in the position since 2012. (https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1701892/Belarusian-foreign-minister-dead-state-media-Russia-Ukraine-war-latest-Lukashenko-Putin) The state media gave no official reason and refrained from disclosing details. The sudden death comes amid rising tensions between NATO and Belarus, as Russia continues to deploy their troops in the country. However, the president Alexander Lukashenko recently dismissed speculation that Belarus was about the join the war in Ukraine.

Newsline: Romania recalls its ambassador from Belarus

Romania is recalling its ambassador to Belarus in solidarity with Lithuania and Poland, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said, joining several other states amid continued tensions after Minsk’s disputed presidential election. “Belarus needs to understand that using diplomatic pressure on EU member states will not help dialogue and will not bring positive results.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-romania-diplomacy-idUSKBN26U0Z0) Belarus has accused its neighbours Poland and Lithuania of meddling in its affairs by hosting exiled opposition leaders and refusing to recognise Alexander Lukashenko’s victory in the Aug. 9 poll. Critics said the vote was rigged. Romania joins Germany, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Slovakia in recalling its envoy. “We decided to recall our ambassador in Belarus for consultations in solidarity with Lithuania and Poland,” Aurescu said on Twitter.

Newsline: UK recalls ambassador to Belarus amid unrest

The UK has temporarily recalled its ambassador from Belarus amid growing tensions over political unrest there. Authorities in Minsk have cracked down on protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, who claimed victory in disputed elections in August. The opposition says he must quit but he says they are Western “puppets” trying to overthrow him. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the move was in solidarity with Poland and Lithuania – critics of Mr Lukashenko. (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54489442) On Friday, Belarus expelled 35 diplomats from those two neighbouring countries. Mr Raab condemned that as a “completely unjustified” decision, which, he said on Twitter, would “only isolate the Belarusian people” further.

Newsline: Bulgaria and Slovakia recalling ambassadors from Belarus

Bulgaria and Slovakia are recalling their ambassadors to Belarus for consultations in solidarity with Lithuania and Poland, their foreign ministers said on Thursday after meeting Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Bratislava. “Steps taken by Belarus authorities against other EU Member states are unacceptable. EU remains united in its support of people of Belarus,” Slovak Foreign Ministers Ivan Korcok tweeted. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-bulgaria-diplomacy/bulgaria-recalls-its-ambassador-from-belarus-foreign-minister-idUSKBN26T2L6) Poland and Lithuania recalled their ambassadors on Tuesday to defuse regional tensions after Belarus demanded they cut staff at their embassy for their “destructive” actions. Four more EU nations, including Germany, did same on Wednesday, to show support for Poland and Lithuania.

Newsline: Ukraine summons Belarus diplomat over Crimea

Ukraine’s foreign ministry summoned a senior Belarusian diplomat over the participation of a representative of Crimea’s occupation administration in a Russia-Belarus regional forum, the ministry said. Kyiv’s relations with Moscow deteriorated in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and backed pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donbass region. “Ukraine considers inadmissible such unfriendly steps by the Belarusian side, which call into question the affiliation to Ukraine of the Russian-occupied Crimea and Sevastopol,” the ministry said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-ukraine-diplomat/ukraine-summons-belarus-diplomat-over-crimea-idUSKBN26M6K4) The ministry said the Belarusian diplomat reassured Kyiv that Minsk’s official position in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity had not been changed. Ukraine’s relations with another neighbour, Belarus, soured when Kyiv condemned the Aug. 9 presidential election in Belarus as neither free nor fair.

Newsline: Germany summons Belarus ambassador over detention of journalists

The ambassador of Belarus to Germany was summoned to the foreign ministry in Berlin after foreign journalists were detained in Minsk, a ministry spokesman said on Monday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belarus-election-germany-diplomacy/germany-summons-belarus-ambassador-over-detention-of-journalists-idUSKBN25R1CR)

Newsline: Poland Summons Belarus Ambassador Over ‘Unfounded Accusations’

Poland said on Thursday it had summoned the Belarus ambassador to protest at “unfounded accusations” after Belarusian media said President Alexander Lukashenko had accused Warsaw of plotting to seize part of the country if its crisis worsened. “With regard to the repeated unfounded accusations from Belarus leaders towards Poland, the … Belarus ambassador (was) summoned to the (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) today at 1500,” Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said on Twitter. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-08-27/poland-summons-belarus-ambassador-over-unfounded-accusations) Lukashenko has accused Poland of planning to take over the Grodno region bordering Poland and Lithuania if Belarus falls apart, Belarus’s state news agency Belta reported. Belta on Thursday quoted Lukashenko as saying he had dispatched some armed forces to the western border with Poland. “You see these statements saying that if Belarus falls apart, Grodno Oblast will become part of Poland. They are already saying it openly, they are dreaming about it. They will not succeed, I know it for sure,” Belta quoted him as saying. Lukashenko has also accused the U.S.-led NATO alliance, to which Poland and Lithuania belong, of building up forces near the border with Belarus.

Newsline: Lithuanian diplomats summon Belarusian ambassador to protest border violation

On Sunday, when 50 000 people formed the Freedom Way human chain in Lithuania from Vilnius to the Belarusian border, a Belarusian military helicopter has violated the border, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has announced. Lithuanian diplomats wrote in a press release, that on Monday, August 24, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania summoned the Ambassador of Belarus to Lithuania Valery Baranovsky and handed him a protest note regarding a violation of the state border of Lithuania. (https://bnn-news.com/lithuanian-diplomats-summon-belarusian-ambassador-of-violation-of-border-during-freedom-way-216360) The Belarusian Mi-24 helicopter flew into Lithuania’s territory near Medininkai on 23 August at 18.50 p.m. Belarus is urged to explain this incident and to ensure that such violations do not happen again, the press release reads.

Newsline: German Foreign Ministry summons Belarusian ambassador

German Foreign Ministry summoned Denis Sidorenko, the ambassador of Belarus in this country, due to the situation that occurred in Belarus after presidential election. Stern and Bild report that the Belarusian ambassador was informed of German stance regarding the electoral process in this country. In turn, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas claims that the pressure against Minsk will keep growing considerably. The official said that this move is already agreed with EU partners. (https://112.international/politics/german-foreign-ministry-summons-belarusian-ambassador-53883.html) As is known, a powerful wave of anti-government protests rose in Belarus after presidential election results were published by Central Election Committee. According to these results, the incumbent leader Alexander Lukashenko won with 80 percent of votes collected; his rival Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya scored just ten percent. Thousands of Belarusians claimed that the voting results were tampered with during the vote count, and hit the streets, showing their discontent and anger with the results of elections. Rallies unfurled in several cities across the country, with the largest one in the capital city. About 6,700 people were detained during protests.