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      EU Recalls Ambassadors from Belarus

      The EU has imposed sanctions on Belarus in response to government brutality against protesters. Both sides have recalled ambassadors.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 2/29/2012, 11:06 AM

      Polish Ambassador Leszek Szerepka
      Polish Ambassador Leszek Szerepka
      Reuters

      On Wednesday, Germany and all other European Union states recalled their ambassadors from Minsk, according to reports from the DPA and Belapan news agencies.

      The move came in the wake of the diplomatic power struggle being fought between Belarus and the European Union over the issue of Belarussian repression against anti-government protesters and rigged elections, with EU sanctions imposed in response to government brutality by the Lukashenko regime.

      The sanctions were imposed as part of the EU's opposition to jailing of protesters and activists by Alexander Lukashenko's forces. The Belarus government has allegedly also been otherwise violating the civil rights of the anti-government activists, who have been severely mistreated by police, judges and other members of the justice system. Lukashenko's forces also arrested and jailed a number of his rivals during rigged elections more than a year ago. When demonstrators protested the fraud at the polls, 600 others were arrested as well.

      In response, more than 200 top Belarussian officials thus far have had their assets frozen, been slapped with visa bans and placed on a travel blacklist by the EU for human rights violations, among them 21 judges and police officials.

      Minsk ordered Polish Ambassador Leszek Szerepka and those from other EU nations to leave the country on Tuesday, and recalled its ambassadors from Brussels and Warsaw on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Belarus foreign ministry.

      EU foreign policy chief and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters the EU foreign ministers intend to summon ambassadors from Belarus for a discussion at their offices over the matter.

      Outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev last week had already expressed his strong support for Belarus at the EU meeting in Brussels.