MINSK / WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) – After new US sanctions against authoritarian Belarus, Minsk has withdrawn its approval for Julie Fisher as the new US ambassador. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday in the capital Minsk. Ministry spokesman Anatoli Glas referred to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which regulates such situations. “If necessary, we’ll explain it again,” said Glas. In addition, the US should reduce its embassy staff to five by September 1.
Fisher was sworn in in December as the first US ambassador to Belarus since 2008. According to the latest information, the diplomat, who regularly met opposition members from Belarus living in exile in the EU, had then waited for a visa for the ex-Soviet republic. The US State Department spokesman Ned Price responded that Belarus is responsible for the deterioration in relations with the US through the “relentless repression” of its citizens. “We are disappointed that we are where we are now in terms of our relations with Belarus.”
From 2006, after repeated criticism of the human rights situation in Belarus, Washington imposed sanctions, including against the ruler Alexander Lukashenko himself. In this context, Minsk had expelled US diplomats. Under the former US President Donald Trump but then there was a rapprochement between the two countries.
Exactly one year after the presidential election of August 9, 2020, which was widely regarded as falsified, the US had increased its punitive measures against Belarus. According to the White House in Washington, they are now targeting Belarusian individuals and institutions, among other things because of their role in attacks on democracy and human rights./cht/DP/he