World, Europe

France says expulsion of Belarus envoy 'unjustified'

Both countries recall their ambassadors

Shweta Desai   | 18.10.2021
France says expulsion of Belarus envoy 'unjustified'


France on Monday called the expulsion of its envoy by the Belarusian authorities an “unjustified decision” and vowed to continue its diplomatic mission in Minsk.

A diplomatic row erupted between Paris and Minsk after both countries recalled their ambassadors. Anatoly Glaz, press secretary of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, told BelTA news agency that Nicolas de Lacoste was forced to leave Belarus for refusing to present his credentials to President Alexander Lukashenko. Lacoste left the country on Monday, the same day when Belarus recalled its ambassador, Igor Fisenko, from France.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said France was following the common European position of not recognizing Lukashenko’s regime, who was sworn in for the sixth time in a disputed election last August. In the aftermath of the results, opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claimed to have won the majority of votes, fled to Lithuania for safety and several activists, protestors and journalists were imprisoned.

The EU and the US decried the elections to be fraudulent and placed a series of sanctions against Lukashenko – a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin – and officials of his government.

The French Foreign Ministry statement added the “unjustified decision” of expelling its ambassador followed “several negative decisions” reducing the means of its diplomatic action in Minsk. However, it will continue its diplomatic mission in Minsk where Lacoste will work in the capacity of special envoy for Belarus.

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