Belarus asks Estonia to reduce embassy staff following UN meeting | New


A Foreign Ministry statement said Belarus linked the move to an event hosted by Estonia this week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York to support the Belarusian opposition.

Belarusian opposition leader in exile Svetlana Tikhanovskaya participated at the invitation of Estonia.

The note indicates that the number of diplomats will be reduced to a minimum in the embassies of the two countries.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said that this reaction shows all the more clearly the criminal face of the Belarusian regime.

“Estonia will always support the democratic aspirations of the opposition and civil society in Belarus to ensure that violations of human rights and international law do not go unnoticed,” Reinsalu stressed.

He added that additional pressure must be exerted on the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.

“Belarusian authorities have also been complicit in Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, which is already in its seventh month. That’s why we must step up sanctions against the regime, continue to isolate the country internationally and work for legal accountability, because the Lukashenko regime must not feel that it enjoys impunity,” the minister said.

“We take note of Belarus’ decision to reduce embassy staff and will respond to it in any way we deem appropriate,” Reinsalu said.


A statement from the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said it summoned Estonian charge d’affaires Triin Hiesalu on Friday.

The ministry said it has analyzed Estonia’s recent actions and sees them as “provocations against the sovereignty and independence of our country”.

“Including official attempts to appropriate the right to speak on behalf of the Belarusian people and adventures on the UN site,” he wrote in a statement.

“Adherence to these principles, as well as non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, is the basic basis of normal bilateral relations between all states,” he continued.

Given the “disrespectful attitude” of Estonia, Belarus “no longer sees the point of a large diplomatic presence of Estonia on its territory”.

The ministry said that from October 1, staffing should be reduced at the two diplomatic missions to two staff members each.

“The Belarusian side will take all necessary measures so that the populist actions of the official Tallinn do not affect the real interests of ordinary citizens of Belarus and Estonia, including in terms of consular support. Minsk will continue its line of maintaining traditionally good neighborly relations with the friendly Estonian people,” the ministry wrote.

He added that diplomatic relations will be restored when “Estonian leaders return to civilized and universally recognized principles of interstate communication and mutually respectful dialogue.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add comments from the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

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