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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Latvia expels Belarus diplomat

Aug 03, 2006
By TBT staff

The Latvian Foreign Ministry has declared on Aug. 2 First Secretary of the Belarus embassy in Riga, Dmitry Krayushkin, as persona non grata for actions incompatible with a diplomatic status. Krayushkin was given 24 hours to leave the country.

The Foreign Ministry handed a note to the Belarus charge d' affaires in Latvia, Valeriy Dovgan. Edgars Skuja, the ministry’s deputy state secretary, refused to comment on the decision. He did not say whether or not the decision was related to the now notorious search conducted by Belarus authorities on the apartment of Latvian diplomat Reimo Smits.
The ministry said the search violated the Vienna Convention.

Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks told BNS that Belarus had provoked Latvia several times in the past two weeks.
"As Belarus has failed to provide any explanations or reply to numerous inquiries and notes, we began serious examination of the work by the Belarus embassy in Latvia," Pabriks said.

He said the Foreign Ministry had information that one of the Belarus embassy officials had "operated outside the accepted diplomatic practice." Pabriks did not say whether Belarus has expelled Reimo Smits, Second Secretary at the Latvian embassy in Belarus. "Belarus still has not been able to produce answers," he said.

Krayushkin is the first Belarus diplomat declared as persona non grata in Latvia. In spring 2004 Latvia expelled a Russian diplomat, who had tried to obtain intelligence about NATO military infrastructure and important domestic and foreign policy developments in Latvia. Russia responded by expelling Juris Poikans, First Secretary of the Latvian embassy in Russia.
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