The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry was to summon Belarus's ambassador to Slovakia, Vladimir Serpikov, on Wednesday, August 15, to communicate Slovakia's unease over the expulsion of Swedish ambassador Stefan Eriksson from Belarus and the measures that led to the closure of the Swedish embassy in Minsk, the TASR newswire learnt from the Slovak Foreign Ministry's press department.
Relations between Sweden and Belarus were disrupted in July due to an event organised by a Swedish public relations company that dropped more than 800 teddy bears with pro-democracy messages from a small plane into Belarus. The angered Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, reacted swiftly, and all Swedish diplomats – including Ambassador Stefan Eriksson – were expelled from the country on August 3. Belarus also withdrew Sweden’s entire embassy staff over the incident.
During talks held on August 10 over the issue, the governments of the EU-member states agreed that they will impose further sanctions against Belarus, and said they would voice their objections to the respective ambassadors of Belarus, according to EU diplomat Olof Skoog. Delegates of the 27 EU-member states agreed that they would communicate a clear message to "all of Belarus's ambassadors around Europe in the next few days, expressing full solidarity with the Swedes on this," Skoog said. In addition, the EU is considering limiting political relations with Belarus and increasing aid to the country's pro-democracy groups. All the embassies from individual EU-member states withdrew their ambassadors from Minsk in February in a tit-for-tat row with Lukashenko, and they did not resume their posts until April.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
15. Aug 2012 at 14:00