Belarus expels two Polish diplomats

Poland has warned Belarus that it has the right to respond after two Polish diplomats were given 48 hours to leave Belarusian territory.

Poland's consul general and a consul, both working at the Consulate General in Grodno, were given their marching orders by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

Under-secretary of State in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marcin Przydacz reacting to the expulsion wrote on Twitter: "Poland reserves the right to take adequate response measures."

The expulsion of the two diplomats is the latest tit-for-tat move in a diplomatic spat between the two neighbours that was triggered when Minsk ordered Jerzy Timofiejuk, the Polish consulate general in Minsk, to leave the country.

The diplomat, according to the Belarusian authorities, had attended an unofficial event commemorating Poland’s ‘Cursed Soldiers’ who had fought against the communists after the end of WWII.

"By participating in the event, the Polish representative seriously violated the norms of international law," in particular the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Belarusian authorities claimed.

In retaliation Poland declared a diplomat from the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Warsaw as persona non grata.

In an explanation handed to Marcin Wojciechowski, the charge d'affaires of the Polish Embassy in Minsk, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said the two Poles had been expelled because of “an exaggerated, asymmetric and destructive Polish response to the legally valid and justified decision by Belarus concerning Jerzy Timofiejuk… and ignoring respective requests from the Belarusian side."