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All Swedish diplomats expelled from Belarus

Published: 08 Aug 2012 10:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Aug 2012 10:55 GMT+02:00

President Alexander Lukashenko "is now throwing all Swedish diplomats out of Belarus. His fear of human rights reaching new heights," Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter.

“He's acting like the bully he is,” Bildt told the TT news agency.

“I do not know why they escalate in this way. It's no secret that they were highly annoyed by our democracy programs for a long time and now their anger over this has now exploded.”

News of the changes has been confirmed by the foreign ministry.

"We can confirm that Belarus has let us know that they're closing their embassy in Stockholm and at the same time revoked the diplomatic status for all Swedish diplomats in Belarus," foreign ministry spokesman Anna Backlund told The Local.

Bildt last week said ambassador Stefan Eriksson, who took up the post in Minsk in 2008, was expelled because of meetings he had held with the Belarus opposition.

Stockholm retaliated immediately, saying it would not welcome a new ambassador named by Minsk to replace an envoy who left the post several weeks ago, and withdrew residency permits for two Belarus diplomats who were asked to leave the Scandinavian country.

Belarus foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh denied last week that Stefan Eriksson was expelled, saying instead in more diplomatic language that "a decision was made not to renew his credentials."

Later on Wednesday morning, Bildt posted another tweet about Sweden's commitment to the country:

"We remain strongly committed to the freedom of Belarus and all its citizens. They deserve the freedoms and the rights of the rest of Europe."

The Local/TT/AFP

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:08 August 8, 2012 by rise
How pathetic.
12:12 August 8, 2012 by Lemon1987
I like how pro-democratic media slander Lukashenko´s regime in every kinda way when its possible.Pointing mainly on human rights a.s.o. Im just guessing if problem isnt somewhere else somewhere between Afganistan and Iraq. You know when country owns such a great amount of mineral resources and is still not sold out to western economic conquerers aka hyenas they are looking for every oportunity to ruin credibility of that state. Its pretty sad but thats the way it is.
13:20 August 8, 2012 by playmobil
oh yes pathetic.. and i really wonder who gives a ... to what pro-dictatorship media would say.. "hey look there instead!.. "
13:43 August 8, 2012 by robban70226
What a Circus!!
13:49 August 8, 2012 by muscle
stop messing in other countries affairs! Or else, be happy if others would not want to respect Sweden's laws!

It has nothing to do with dictatorships, democratic, monarchy or communists govts. But stop messing and displacing people from other countries!
14:37 August 8, 2012 by DAVID T
The Belarus government should have shot the plane down that Swedish PR firm Studio Total sent over - You cannot mess with peoples borders regardless what you think - Well done Sweden - useless country
09:56 August 13, 2012 by robban70226
Mazetti, Hannah Frey and Per Cromwell ---- time to stop the bullshit talk and face the music...
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