Lithuania recalls five more diplomats from Belarus

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — On Friday the Lithuanian Baltic nation resolved, with a government spokesman stating that Belarus had requested 11 diplomatic staff to be sent back home, to send back five diplomats from Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

Last week, Lithuania recalled its ambassador to Belarus, and Belarus did the same with its ambassadors to Lithuania and Poland, with consultations with pressure from Minsk.

In a preliminary move, the two countries requested also that their diplomatic personnel be decreased in Minsk.

Raza Jakilaitiene, the Lithuanian Minister's spokesperson for International Relations, said in a statement "Belarus had made categorical demands for a dramatic decrease in the amount of Lithuanian diplomats accredited.

"We and Poland agreed to inform our diplomats for meetings, so that conflicts could be minimized and diplomacy could be sustained."

She said of the decision to recall five more ambassadors. "We expect that it would be necessary to retain conditions for dialog."

The Lithuanian government criticized the southern neighbor of Belarus, a big regional turmoil.

The opposition figure of Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who left Belarus after the presidential vote on August 9 challenged President Lukashenko, provided refuge to Lithuania.

Officials claimed Lukashenko secured a sixth term, but the race was rife with bribery by opposition representatives.

Lithuania immediately placed sanctions on Belarusian officials, along with its baltic neighbors Estonia and Latvia, and the EU — a 27 member bloc containing the three Baltic countries — were finally backed up with sanctions.

Belarus is not a part of the European Union.

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