Belarus forced to withdraw its embassy staff from Stockholm

MINSK. August 8. KAZINFORM Belarus withdraws its embassy personnel from Sweden, BelTA learnt from the Foreign Ministry of Belarus, according to BelTA.

"The decision made by the Belarusian side not to renew the accreditation of former Swedish Ambassador to Belarus Stefan Eriksson is clear and needs no additional comments. With the simultaneous withdrawal of Belarusian Ambassador to Sweden Andrei Grinkevich the Belarusian side believed the conflict was resolved and was ready for joint efforts to return to constructive bilateral relations. Belarus' efforts taken earlier to keep the situation from a bitter conflict testify to the fact," the Belarusian ministry said.

The ministry added that unfortunately the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs "chose to aggravate the situation and took a decision to expel Belarus' two senior diplomats, including the charge d'affaires a.i., from the country and refuse to welcome Belarus' new ambassador with the agrement of the Government of Sweden." Thus, the diplomatic personnel of the Belarusian embassy in Stockholm have been narrowed to two junior diplomats without proper authority and qualification to head the mission.

"The abovementioned actions of the Swedish side are aimed to severely restrict the representation of the Republic of Belarus in Sweden, its ability to fully protect the interests of Belarusian nationals in that country and provide services to the citizens of Sweden as well as of Norway and Denmark where the embassy is accredited on concurrent," the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said.

According to the ministry, it is impossible for the embassy to function normally under the circumstances (art.3, Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations). "The situation leaves nothing to the Belarusian side but to close withdraw its embassy staff from the Republic of Sweden," the ministry explained.

The ministry said that "in response, basing on the principle of reciprocity envisaged among other things in the Vienna Convention, the Swedish side has been advised to withdraw its embassy staff from the Republic of Belarus before 30 August 2012." "All the personnel of the Swedish embassy in Belarus lose their status after that date," the ministry added.

The Belarusian side, the ministry stressed, does not aim to break the bilateral diplomatic relations.

"Resumption of the bilateral cooperation and the diplomatic presence at the capitals of the two countries is possible only if the Swedish side observes the universal principles of mutual respect, the sovereign equality of the states and assistance to the development of friendly relations in the dialogue with Belarus," the Belarusian Foreign Ministry concluded.

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