Monday, June 22, 1998 Published at 22:48 GMT 23:48 UK
US tells Belarussian diplomat to stay away
German Ambassador H E Horst Winkelmann with his luggage before leaving
The United States has become the latest country to retaliate in a row over foreign embassies in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.
The State Department in Washington has told the Belarussian ambassador not to return from holiday. Earlier it withdrew its own ambassador from the Belarussian capital, Minsk.
The Western ambassadors have complained that their power and water have been cut off and access roads have been blocked because of renovations. They say this may be a pretext by President Alexander Lukashenko to move them out.
Mr Lukashenko himself also lives in the wooded Drozdy complex outside the capital, which was home to about 20 foreign ambassadors until this week.
"I hope we will not be going for long, but everything that has happened is incomprehensible and sad," said the German ambassador Horst Winkelmann.
Signal to Lukashenko
Mr Lukashenko told the envoys last month they would have to move out, saying the buildings needed repair.
Correspondents say Mr Lukashenko is trying to take over the complex.
But the ambassadors say the order to leave the complex violates the Vienna Convention, which designates homes of ambassadors as territory of their countries.
"The point of us leaving is to show him that he cannot treat us in the way that he expects to be able to treat anyone in his country," she said.
"Ambassadors are expected to be treated with a certain status, a certain respect and a certain common courtesy. If there is a technical problem then tell us straight," she added.