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Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on the request of the Belarusian authorities that the EU Head Delegation and Polish Ambassador to Minsk leave the country for consultations

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy and Vice President of the Commission, made today the following statement:

"Following today's request by the Belarusian authorities that the Head of  the EU Delegation in Minsk and the Ambassador of Poland to Belarus leave the country for consultations, I have decided, in coordination with Foreign Minister Sikorski, that we will recall for consultations our two ambassadors.

At the same time, I have called a meeting of Member States Ambassadors (PSC) in Brussels today to coordinate our response. In an expression of solidarity and unity, it was  agreed that the ambassadors of the EU Member States in Minsk will all be withdrawn for consultations to their capitals. All EU Member States will also summon Belarusian ambassadors to their foreign ministries. 

We will continue to follow the situation closely."

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/...

News of Belarus

Tough sentences announced to Brest antifascists

A verdict was delivered today in the case of Brest antifascists acused of participation in a group fight with neonazis which happened on May 8, 2013.

Antifascists were tried under the art. 339.3 (malicious group hooliganism) and 147.2 (malicious bodily harm). The case was qualified as malicious due to the fact of pepper spray usage in the fight.

Dzmitry Stsyashenka got 5 years of penal colony with reinforced regime (339.3) and 500 euro of damages to be paid to the injured nazis.

Exclusive: European Union moves to suspend sanctions on Belarus

The European Union is likely to lift some sanctions on Belarus, including its travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko, after he freed a group of political prisoners last month, diplomatic sources say.

An arms embargo against the former Soviet republic would remain. But in an overture to the man the West calls Europe's "last dictator", diplomats are looking at suspending visa bans and asset freezes on most of around 200 people under sanctions for rights abuses, some since disputed elections in 2004.