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support for Swedish diplomatic efforts

EU holds crisis meeting after Sweden-Belarus diplomatic row

Published fredag 10 augusti 2012 kl 08.43
After expelling Swedish ambassador Stefan Eriksson, president Lukasjenko has accused him of being involved with a human rights teddy-bear stunt last year. Photo: Scanpix

On Friday EU ambassadors are meeting in Brussels with the aim of providing EU support for Sweden in its ongoing diplomatic battle with Belarus. The aim of the crisis meeting will be to figure out a way to support Sweden's efforts to pressure Belarus on human rights issues, reports news agency TT.

Sweden has received support from the USA for its efforts to pressure Belarus into releasing its political prisoners. The EU now aims to make its position on human rights in Belarus clearer.

According to Martin Uggla from the Swedish human rights organisation Östgruppen, the EU's support may take the form of increased sanctions against Belarus.

"The EU will respond in some way, and it might be by broadening sanctions. The serious part is that Belarus is going to become even more isolated", he told TT.

On Thursday president Aleksandr Lukasjenko accused the expelled Swedish ambassador to Belarus of working with a Swedish PR company that airdropped teddy bears and a message of freedom into Belarus last month.

Lukasjenko demanded a response from Sweden on the matter. The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs denies that the embassy was involved in the stunt.

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