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EU to work with Belarusian minister despite sanctions

The European Union has said that it will work with the new Belarusian foreign minister despite the fact that he is subject to EU sanctions.



Brussels, Aug 21: The European Union has said that it will work with the new Belarusian foreign minister despite the fact that he is subject to EU sanctions.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko dismissed his Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov earlier Monday and appointed head of his Presidential administration Vladimir Makei for the post.

"The EU will continue to work with the new foreign minister along the same lines as it did with the former minister Mr Martynov," the spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said.

"Mr Makei is currently subject to EU restrictive measures. In the context of the upcoming review of restrictive measures [in the autumn of this year], the EU will assess his situation," Sebastien Brabant said.

The dismissal of Martynov, who had held the post since 2003, follows a recent diplomatic row between Belarus and Sweden over an incident in which a Swedish light plane dropped hundreds of teddy bears bearing pro-democracy slogans over Belarus.

Belarusian President earlier sacked two top generals, including the head of air defence, in the wake of the July 4 stunt.

Belarus has also expelled Swedish ambassador Stefan Eriksson and withdrawn all of its embassy staff from Stockholm.

IANS

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