EU ambassadors leave Minsk for meeting in Lithuania on inauguration day

BRUSSELS, January 21 (Itar-Tass) -- All the EU ambassadors left Minsk on the day of Belarusian President Elect Alexander Lukashenko's inauguration, the press secretary of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said.

In her words, the ambassadors will attend a diplomatic meeting in Lithuania and come back to Minsk. Experts believe that the meeting was organized specially to avoid attendance of the inauguration ceremony.

A Brussels meeting of EU foreign ministers due on January 31 may once again activate sanctions against Belarusian officials, including Lukashenko. The sanctions stipulate a ban on their visits to EU member countries and freezing of bank assets. There may be economic sanctions, as well, including suspended financing of Eastern Partnership programs for Belarus.

The main demand of the European Union is the immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus.

Meanwhile, Lukashenko started the fourth term of his office on Friday with an oath pronounced in the Belarusian language.

Parliament deputies, government members, Central Elections Commission members, judges of the Constitutional, Supreme and High Economic Courts, and representatives of some foreign diplomatic missions attended the ceremony.


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