Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

EU ambassadors may return after April 8

The European Unions ambassadors are to return en bloc to Belarus after the Easter break unless Alyaksandr Lukashenka does something drastic in the meantime, reported the Brussels-based online newspaper EUobserver with reference to one of the ambassadors.

According to the source, the decision was made behind closed doors in Brussels earlier this week.

"I do not have my instructions yet, but I expect to get them on Monday [April 2]," the ambassador said.

The EU envoys left Belarus in February in an act of solidarity with Maira Mora, head of the European Union`s Delegation to Belarus, and the Polish ambassador to Belarus, Leszek Szerepka, who were told by the Belarusian authorities "to leave for their capitals to inform their chiefs of the Belarusian sides firm stance that pressure and sanctions are unacceptable".

"This [the EU envoys' return] will happen if the Belarusians behave correctly. Of course, this raises the question of what is 'correctly'? But normally, it should happen," another EU diplomat told EUobserver.
The ambassadors' return should not be seen as a political reward, the diplomat noted. "We are ready to impose more sanctions if the situation does not improve," he said.

According to EUobserver, one more EU diplomat said: "It helps us to work more effectively in Belarus, to have better quality reporting, if the ambassadors are there."