Eleven US diplomats leave Belarus embassy amid diplomatic row

May 3rd, 2008 - 10:10 pm ICT by admin  

DPA
Minsk, May 3 (DPA) Eleven US diplomats have left the country’s embassy in Belarus only hours before a Belarusian government order to leave within 72 hours expired, the Interfax news agency cited the US embassy as saying. The staff in the embassy will be at a bare minimum with only four US citizens remaining as relations between Washington and the former Soviet republic hit a new low.

Aleksander Lukashenko, Belarus’ authoritarian president, declared the US State Department employees “persona non grata” Wednesday.

Already-bad relations between Minsk and the US began plummeting in November after Washington hit Belarus’ national energy company Belneftekhim with targeted trade sanctions, as punishment for Lukashenko’s poor human rights record.
DPA

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