The European Union does not intend to recall its ambassador from Belarus, even though it refuses to recognize the current government of the country as legitimate, said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell at a press conference in Brussels, reports RBC.
"This does not mean that we will recall ambassadors. But we will reduce our cooperation with Minsk to a lower level," he said.
According to Borrell, the European Union has to put up with Alexander Lukashenko as president of Belarus. Borrell said that the EU faces a similar situation in Venezuela. Europe does not recognize Nicolas Maduro as a legitimate president but does not recall its ambassador from Caracas.
Earlier on September 21, an extraordinary meeting of the European Parliament was held, at which the possibility of imposing sanctions against Lukashenko and other Belarusian government ofcicial, whom the EU considers to be involved in the falsification of the results of the presidential elections and violence against protesters, was discussed. So far, the Foreign Ministries of the EU countries have not been able to reach an agreement on this issue, but Borrell said that the countries will be able to reach a consensus by the next meeting.
Protests in Belarus began on August 9 after the presidential elections. According to the Central Elections Committee (CEC), Lukashenko won with more than 80% of the vote. Protesters consider the results of the vote falsified. The supporters of Lukashenko's rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya claim that she received 80% of the votes instead of the official 10%, which was reported by the CEC.
Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have already imposed sanctions against Lukashenko and 29 other high-ranking citizens of Belarus, banning them from entering the country. After that the members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation in Belarus, according to which they do not recognize Lukashenko as a legitimate president and demand that the European Union impose sanctions against him.