Rytis Kėvelaitis | The Lithuania Tribune
Specially convened EU ambassadors meeting in the Political and Security Committee on Belarus on Friday, August 10, ended up with a moderate position not to pull out all of 27 EU member states envoys from Minsk in solidarity with Sweden.
Before the meeting, there were rumours that the EU’s members could recall their ambassadors to Minsk, as they had earlier this year when Belarus expelled some of the EU diplomats in February.
Nevertheless, the statement of committee meeting expresses “full support” for Catherine Ashton, Higher Representative of European External Action Service (EEAS) and stated official position in August 3rd by voicing “grave concern over the decision by Belarus”. In addition, the EU member states jointly “will tell Belarus’ own envoys to EU capitals that the Union is not happy”.
According to diplomatic sources, outcome of the meeting lacks rigidity due to the forthcoming parliamentary elections in September and to limit contacts before it would not be the best option for the EU. However, restrictive measures against Belarus will be reviewed again by the EU in October.
Despite the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko verbal threatening to Lithuania by previously stating that “if there is anyone who won’t find it funny, it is Lithuania”, the EU did not mention any kind of support to Lithuania in the published statement.
Lithuania’s politicians from almost all political parties declared sober-minded positions towards Lukashenko statement: Gediminas Kirkilas, former national defence minister of Republic of Lithuania, said that “Lithuania should react reservedly. It is still only a rhetoric which is most likely going to be used for local politics”. Another former national defence minister, Juozas Olekas, stated that “It was a public relations campaign which was done by persons, respectful to human rights. In my opinion, our response should be reserved, moderate and without getting into any turmoil.”
Saulius Pečeliūnas, MP of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats party, agrees with previously mentioned opinions: “Everything is still on the rumours level and if there will be any actions taken, then we have to react officially”.
After the Belarus parliamentary election in September, EU might commonly decide to add more Belarusian officials and businessmen to the EU sanctions list.