Lithuanian embassy told to minimize diplomatic staff in Belarus

09:15, 7 July

The Lithuanian diplomatic mission to Belarus has to minimize its presence in the country, BelTA learned from a statement released by the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Due to Lithuania's systemic unfriendly actions, which blatantly violate the Belarusian-Lithuanian agreement on good neighborhood and cooperation Lithuanian Chargé D'Affaires in Belarus Asta Andrijauskiene was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 6 July.

The statement reads: “In particular, the Lithuanian diplomat was told that statements by top officials of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about granting an official diplomatic status to ephemeral structures like the office of the so-called Belarusian diplomatic representation in Vilnius are absolutely unacceptable. This decision of Lithuania continues a series of preposterous and explicitly hostile steps taken by Vilnius recently. The steps directly contradict the spirit and the level of good neighborly relations and undermine bilateral cooperation.”

The statement continues: “It is obvious from the point of view of international law that the Lithuanian government has turned its sovereign right to build interstate relations into a farce the Belarusian side has no intention of participating in. This is why the Lithuanian chargé d'affaires in Belarus was informed about Belarus' decision to reduce the diplomatic representation of Lithuania in our country to a minimum until Lithuania rescinds yesterday's initiative and other unfriendly initiatives that incite confrontation in relations with Belarus.”

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that public deliberations of Lithuanian officials about the so-called representation of Belarusian democracy have nothing to do with provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. “In essence it is yet another strange decision on the part of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which in legal terms is null and void as far as international legal relations and consequences are concerned,” the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted. “At the same time the decision is obviously designed to help the Lithuanian government justify for Lithuanian taxpayers the considerable financial expense involved in the upkeep of the persons, who have fled Belarus and call themselves Belarus' representatives,. It is probably the only logical interpretation of yesterday's verbal escapades by the Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs.”

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that the Lithuanian government explains the step by saying cooperation with the so-called representation of Belarusian democracy meets goals of the Lithuanian foreign policy and national security. “In other words, Lithuania confirms it is the author of the initiative to create, promote, and finance this project. The liberal and quite peculiar interpretation of diplomatic and international laws by Lithuanian authorities cannot substitute the real state of affairs,” the statement reads.

“Giving an imaginary official status to patently illegitimate structures will remain an illusionary attempt to form a parallel reality,” the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs added.

The source went on saying the Belarusian government will find ways to minimize consequences of the Lithuanian government's negative decisions on Lithuanian citizens and will find a way to continue and preserve interaction as well as traditionally friendly good neighborly relations with the friendly Lithuanian nation.

Asked by BelTA to clarify, the press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had been decided that the Lithuanian embassy should keep one consular service officer to deal with consular affairs and three administrative and technical support staff.

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