The United States has said that the Belarusian government's decision to expel the Swedish Ambassador over a political stunt involving teddy bears will "only serve to deepen Belarus' self-isolation."
Belarus on Wednesday asked all Swedish diplomats to leave the country after a Swedish PR firm dropped toy bears bearing pro-democracy messages in parachutes over its territory.
Sweden responded by taking action against diplomats from Belarus, and recalled its entire diplomatic staff in Minsk.
The United States expressed deep concern about recent events in Belarus. These actions, like the expulsion of the U.S. Ambassador to Belarus in 2008, only serve to deepen Belarus' self-isolation, said a statement issued by Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy spokesperson of the State Department.
The United States made it clear that it stands with Sweden and its European partners "in supporting the aspirations of the people of Belarus for a modern, democratic and prosperous future." Washington repeated its call on Belarus to immediately release and rehabilitate all political prisoners, and to put an end to the repression of civil society and the democratic opposition.
Reports said a meeting of EU Ambassadors has been called for Friday to discuss the diplomatic row between Belarus and Sweden, two member-countries of the 27-nation bloc.
by RTT Staff Writer
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