Tuesday

24th Apr 2018

Belarus expels Swedish ambassador after teddy bear fiasco

  • Lukashenko fired two generals over the teddy bear incident (Photo: studiototal.se)

Belarus has kicked out Sweden's ambassador to Minsk in a rerun of events six months ago.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted on Friday (3 August) that the diplomat, Stefan Eriksson, was expelled "for being too supportive of human rights." He added: "Outrageous. Shows nature of regime."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Swedish foreign ministry said it will give marching orders to Belarus' envoy to Stockholm and some of his colleagues in return.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the Political and Security Committee, a group of high-level EU diplomats, will at its next meeting in Brussels also discuss "appropriate EU measures."

A Belarusian foreign ministry spokesman, Andrei Savinykh, told the Belta news agency that Eriksson was "destroying" Belarusian-Swedish relations.

"If the Swedish side is eager to aggravate the situation, we will be forced to respond adequately," he added.

The dispute comes after a Swedish advertising agency, Studio Total, in July air-dropped teddy bears in Belarus with little parachutes and placards calling for free speech.

President Alexander Lukashanko fired two security chiefs in response and said future intruders will be shot down.

Belarus in February expelled the EU and the Polish ambassadors to Minsk because the EU imposed sanctions on one of his oligarch friends.

The EU at the time pulled out all its Belarus ambassadors in solidarity. They trickled back a few weeks later to resume work.

Tit-for-tat expulsions also took place in 1998 when Lukashenko wanted to evict EU and US diplomats from a leafy residential compound so he could live there himself.

His methods included cutting off water and welding shut the gate of the US envoy's residence.

The ambassadors returned in 1999, after Belarus pledged to respect international law on diplomats' rights.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Far-right attack migrants on Greek island
  2. Merkel defends accepting UN refugees
  3. EU commissioner plans Malta 'money laundering' inspection
  4. Survey: Half of high polluting farms receive CAP subsidies
  5. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  6. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  7. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  8. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  4. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  6. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  7. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight

Latest News

  1. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  2. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade
  3. Greenland votes with eye on independence
  4. EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists
  5. Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack
  6. European Commission proposes whistleblower protection law
  7. Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP
  8. 'Strong suspicion' of corruption in Council of Europe assembly