Europe has been united by a diplomatic row. The bloc has agreed to recall member states’ ambassadors from Minsk in a move which will be seen to further isolate Belarus.
The EU has reacted in solidarity in a tit-for-tat manner after Belarus had called on the head of the bloc’s delegation to the country and the ambassador of Poland to return to their capitals for consultations.
That action was prompted by new sanctions adopted by the EU to punish Minsk’s human rights record.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle fired a broadside at President Alexander Lukashenko. “This is the last dictatorship, this is the last dictator in Europe, and we will not let ourselves be intimidated by such actions against one European institutions or against one member state. We will not let others divide us. The dictator fools himself when he thinks he can divide us,” he said.
Relations between the bloc and Belarus have been deteriorating since President Lukashenko’s disputed election victory in 2010. Twenty one judges and a senior police officer have been banned from travelling into the EU in the latest sanctions.