The EU accuses Belarus's president, Alexander Lukashenko, of imprisoning political opponents. Photo: Alexander Zemilianichenko/Scanpix
diplomatic conflict

EU expresses support for Sweden over Belarus dispute

All EU countries have expressed support for Sweden in its ongoing diplomatic dispute with Belarus, but they will not be closing their own embassies in solidarity, nor bringing in any immediate new sanctions.

Ambassadors from all 27 European Union states met in Brussels on Friday.

The Swedish chair of the meetings says that a "very clear message" would be sent to the Belarusian government in the next few days. But Olof Skoog says that the assembled diplomats did not even discuss the possibility of the EU withdrawing from Belarus en masse in protest.

The EU is already in a dispute with Belarus, over that country's treatment of opposition activists. There is currently a travel ban in force against Belarus's president, Alexander Lukashenko, as well as against hundreds of government and business figures. These sanctions will be reviewed in the autumn, and the dispute with Sweden will be taken into account when the EU makes its decision.

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