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12 March 2021

More Polish diplomats told to leave Belarus

It has been suggested that the head and a consul of the Consulate General of Poland in Grodno should leave Belarus, the press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BelTA.

Polish Charge d'Affaires in Belarus Marcin Wojciechowski was summoned to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 11 March. According to the source, the Polish diplomat was told that the presence of the head and a consul of the Consulate General of Poland in Grodno in Belarus is inadvisable due to Poland's excessive, asymmetric, and destructive response to Belarus' legitimate and motivated decision to expel Consul of the Consulate General of Poland in Brest Jerzy Timofiejuk and due to the relevant requests of the Belarusian side being ignored. Belarus' decision stems from articles 23 and 55 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the press service said.

The Polish diplomat was handed a note instructing the aforementioned persons to leave the country within 48 hours.

“Belarus' principled position on the unacceptability of glorifying military criminals and of justifying the genocide of the Belarusian people will remain unchanged. Just as well as constants of international relations such as the inadmissibility of violations of the national legislation and the need to operate within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” the press service stressed.

BelTA reported earlier that on 9 March the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Consul of the Consulate General of Poland in Brest Jerzy Timofiejuk to leave the country due to a blatant violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The ministry protested Jerzy Timofiejuk's participation in an unofficial event timed to the “day of the cursed soldiers”. The event took place in Brest on 28 February and involved representatives of non-governmental and youth organizations with ties to Poland. “The ‘cursed soldiers' led by Romuald Rajs committed crimes in places densely populated by the Belarusian national minority and thus positioned themselves on par with German Nazi forces. Memory of the burned-down villages, of the hundreds of civilians that were murdered and maimed is sacred for our country,” the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

In turn, the Polish government responded by declaring a diplomat of the Belarusian embassy in Warsaw persona non grata.

According to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the very least Poland's response does not conform to the established practice of equal exchange of the expelled diplomatic personnel depending on their jobs and functions. Poland expelled a higher ranking officer of the Belarusian embassy while Belarus' motivated decision was made with regard to a consul of the consulate general.

When asked to clarify the situation in Grodno, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BelTA that Belarusian requests concerning personnel of the Consulate General of Poland in Grodno had been ignored. “We've had certain issues with them. They were notified about the issues, including the need to observe Belarusian laws. But these requirements were ignored,” the source said.