PARIS (Reuters) – France’s ambassador has been ordered out of Belarus and has already left the country, the French news agency AFP reported on Sunday, citing the French embassy in Minsk.
It did not say why the ambassador, Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste, had been expelled. Belarusian media reported that Minsk had recalled its ambassador to Paris, Igor Fesenko.
However, the embassy had noted on its website that Lacoste on Wednesday hosted representatives of the recently-banned non-governmental organisation Govori Pravdu (Tell the Truth), including its co-leader Andrey Dmitriev, one of last year’s presidential candidates.
Belarus’s and France’s foreign ministries and the French embassy were not immediately available for comment.
Relations between EU member states and Belarus have been at a low ebb since President Alexander Lukashenko last year comfortably won re-election in a poll that the opposition said was rigged, and cracked down on the opposition, detaining all its leading figures or driving them into exile.
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(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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