UK recalls Belarus envoy amid unrest

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

London, (Asian independent) The UK has recalled its Ambassador to Belarus amid growing unrest in the eastern European country following the August 9 presidential election, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Saturday.

In a statement, Raab said the UK would temporarily recall Ambassador Jacqueline Perkins in solidarity with Poland and Lithuania, critics of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who won another six years in office after the election, the BBC reported.

Raab’s announcement came a day after Belarus expelled 35 diplomats from the two countries.

The Foreign Secretary condemned that as a “completely unjustified” decision, which, he said would “only isolate the Belarusian people” further.

Meanwhile, seven other European countries, including Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic, have also withdrawn their Ambassadors.

In reaction to the unrest, the European Union, the UK and Canada have imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials who they say are responsible for human rights abuses against opposition campaigners.

Earlier this month, the US Treasury Department sanctioned eight Belarusian officials for their roles in the “fraudulent” election and “undermining the democratic processes” in the country.

This week, Belarus police detained 317 people and deployed water cannon during mass protests against Lukashenko, who has been in power for the last 26 years, reports the BBC.

He won by 80 per cent of the votes, while his main rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya garnered only 10 per cent of the ballots.

Tikhanovskaya has been forced to go into exile in Lithuania after receiving threats following the disputed vote.

At least four people killed and hundreds injured in the widespread protests that followed.