Diplomacy: Belarus drives out the French ambassador and ends the break with France

the essential In question, the refusal of France, like many other Western countries, to recognize the highly contested re-election of Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020, because he orchestrated the repression of a vast post-electoral protest movement.

Belarus recalled this Monday 18 October its ambassador in Paris, after having forced its French counterpart to leave, a new illustration of the tensions with the West due to the violent repression of the opposition to President Alexander Lukashenko.

Minsk criticized the French Ambassador, Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste, for not having wanted to hand over, since his arrival in December 2020, his credentials to the Head of State, a ceremony that formalizes the taking of office.

In question, the refusal of France, like many other Western countries, to recognize the very contested re-election of Alexandre Loukachenko in August 2020, because this one orchestrated the repression of ” a vast post-election protest movement.

As a result, “Belarusian Ambassador to France Igor Fissenko has been recalled to Minsk for consultations,” Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz said in a statement. He said he wanted to “fully restore the functioning of the two diplomatic missions”, while regretting the French refusal to present the credentials.

Support from Moscow

For his part, Ambassador Nicolas de Lacoste bade farewell to his host country in a Belarusian video broadcast on Monday on the embassy’s website, in which he recalls that “France has not recognized the result of the August 9 election “2020.

The controversial re-election to a sixth term of Alexander Lukashenko had led to months of massive but repressed protests in this former Soviet republic, an ally of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The European Union and the United States have adopted a series of sanctions against the Belarusian regime, which has imprisoned or forced into exile all opposition figures.

Many independent media and NGOs have also been shut down, and their employees or representatives harassed by the security forces. There too, many are those who have been imprisoned or have chosen to emigrate.

Belarus is resisting these sanctions thanks to the political, military and financial support of Moscow. The two countries are also preparing to sign agreements to further integrate their two economies, under the leadership of Russia.

Latvia and the United States too

Minsk has also cut ties with other Western interlocutors in recent months. In March, he expelled all Latvian embassy staff, including the ambassador, because the Latvian authorities used the Belarusian opposition flag at an ice hockey championship.

In August, Minsk had also withdrawn its agreement for the appointment of the American ambassador Julie Fisher, who had been confirmed in December as the first envoy of the United States in this ex-Soviet republic since 2008. She was therefore never able to come to Minsk.

Alexander Lukashenko accuses Western governments of having instigated protests against him in the hope of provoking a revolution in order to destabilize a staunch ally of Russia.

The regime succeeded in putting an end to the street protests, but the repression did not end. Last month, a Belarusian court sentenced one of the main opposition figures, Maria Kolesnikova, to 11 years in prison.

On the diplomatic front, the presidential candidate against Alexander Lukashenko who had to go into exile, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has become a familiar face in Europe and the United States.

She travels through Western capitals and has mobilized the world’s great leaders, calling on the international community to put pressure on Belarus. She was notably received by Joe Biden, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

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