Rosenthal summons Belarusian ambassador

Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal has summoned the Belarusian ambassador to the Ministry. The Netherlands is concerned about the expulsion from Belarus of the Polish ambassador and the head of the EU delegation and about the alarming human rights situation there.

Earlier this week the EU decided to send a clear message to the Belarusian regime. This involves all EU member states recalling their ambassadors for consultations and summoning the Belarusian ambassadors to their foreign ministries.

Mr Rosenthal strongly condemned the human rights situation in Europe’s last totalitarian state. ‘The taking of political prisoners and the harassment of political parties and human rights defenders are a fact of life for Belarusians. That is unacceptable,’ he said. The Netherlands supports EU sanctions as a means of putting pressure on the regime, but will also continue its support of civil society in Belarus.

The EU decided this week to extend its sanctions, consisting of an asset freeze and a visa ban, to another 21 Belarusian officials. EU sanctions now apply to more than 200 people.