The diplomatic conflict between Sweden and Belarus escalates with the Lukasjenka-regime’s decision to expell all Swedish diplomats from the country. “The purpose is probably to make it as difficult as possible for the various cooperation programs that we have in terms of not least civil liberties” sais the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.
After the expulsion of the Swedish Ambassador Stefan Eriksson from Belarus last friday, it is now clear that all Swedish diplomats will have to leave Belarus.
Freedom House writes in a statement that “the government of Belarus is determined to further isolate its people from the international community and deny freedom and human rights in the country.”
The EU’s High Representative Catherine Ashton has made it clear that potential countermeasures from the EU will be discussed in Brussels. She explains that “this decision runs counter to norms of relations between states. The European Union and Sweden are committed to the modernisation of Belarus and to the spread of European values in particular Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law.”
Prior to the expulsion, Stefan Eriksson was disparaged in Belarusian media. According to the human rights organization Charter 97, the director of EcooM, a pro-Lukashenka analytic center, Siargey Musiyenka explained in Belarusian TV how Stefan Eriksson among other things “personally gave instructions and money to radical opposition groups” prior to the 2010 presidential election. Musiyenka additionally explains that the Embassy building has been used not only for diplomatic purposes but also for training where “representatives of radical groups were taught to attack the police and arrange provocative actions against ordinary citizens”
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