Belarus has ordered Sweden to recall its entire diplomatic staff in Minsk by the end of the month.
The order of the closure of Swedish embassy reportedly comes only days after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has expelled the Swedish ambassador.
Reports say Belarus government expelled Swedish Ambassador Eriksson earlier this month because he had met with the country’s opposition.
At DC today, Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell says the United States is deeply concerned about recent events in Belarus, including the decision of the Belarusian government to expel the Swedish ambassador and force Sweden to recall its entire diplomatic staff in Minsk.
“These actions, like the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador to Belarus in 2008, only serve to deepen Belarus’ self-isolation.” -Mr. Ventrell
He says the United States stands with Sweden and our European partners in supporting the aspirations of the people of Belarus for a modern, democratic and prosperous future.
The United Sttaes again calls 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.
In December 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton issued joint statement on human rights issues in Belarus on the Anniversary of the December 19, 2010 Crackdown.
The United States and EU expressed concern credible reports of degrading and inhumane treatment of political prisoners in Belarus.
EU reported that over the past 12 months, the Belarusian authorities have imprisoned peaceful demonstrators, suppressed non-violent protests, and worked to silence independent voices.
One vital focus of U.S. assistance to Belarus is the development of a civil society and media freedom.
U.S. assistance to Belarus also supports the Belarusian people in achieving a government that respects their democratic rights and fundamental freedoms.
The U.S. assistance is targeting also on areas to promote the opening of space for the free expression of political views.