Swedish Embassy is forced to leave Belarus
The Swedish foreign ministry's proposed an ambassador of Belarus and two senior embassy officers to leave Sweden. In response the Belarusian authorities decided to withdraw the entire staff of the embassy. As a result, all employees of the Swedish embassy are also have to leave Belarus.
Belarusian Foreign Ministry made a statement in connection with the diplomatic scandal between Belarus and Sweden.
"Motives for making the decision by the Belarusian side on the non-renewal of accreditation to the former Ambassador of Sweden to Belarus Stefan Eriksson are clear and need no additional comments. Taking into account the simultaneous withdrawal of Mr. Grinkevich, the Ambassador of Belarus to Sweden, Belarusian side believed the conflict was settled and was ready for joint efforts for the return of bilateral relations in a constructive direction," the Belarusian side said.
The Belarusian authorities apprehended the Swedish foreign ministry's statement as "aggravation", since it proposes two Belarusian diplomats to leave the country, and says not to welcome the entry of the new ambassador.
"Diplomatic staff of the Belarusian ambassy in Stockholm was reduced to two junior diplomats who do not have sufficient authority and qualifications to lead the mission. These actions of the Swedish side are aimed at a serious limitation of the mission of the Republic of Belarus in Sweden and of the possibility to fully protect the interests of Belarusian citizens and provide services to the citizens of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, where the embassy is accredited too," the Belarusian foreign ministry says.
Referring to the fact that the normal operation of the Embassy is not possible in such circumstances, Belarus withdraws all its diplomats from Stockholm. In addition, referring to the principle of reciprocity, stated in Article 2 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Belarusian side proposed Sweden to withdraw its embassy from Minsk until August 30, 2012.
"The Belarusian side acts on the premise that all officers of the Swedish Embassy in Belarus as will lose their status from that date," the Belarusian foreign ministry said in a statement, noting that "in the context of these measures, the severance of diplomatic relations is not the case."
However, as stated by the foreign ministry, the return of bilateral cooperation to the previous level is possible only "if the Swedish side in the dialogue with Belarus will return to the observance of internationally recognized principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality of states and the promotion of friendly relations."