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Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Saturday, 3 May 2008 15:44 UK

US envoys leave Belarus amid row

The US flag at the embassy in Minsk, Belarus
Only six diplomats are left at the US embassy in Minsk

Eleven US diplomats have left Belarus after being declared "personae non gratae" by the authorities.

Belarus on Wednesday ordered the diplomats' expulsion, after the US refused cut staff at its Minsk embassy. The US administration has retaliated by threatening to expel Belarus' whole diplomatic staff from Washington.

Relations have become increasingly strained over US criticism of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko's human-rights record.

Washington has urged him to release opposition figures or face punitive sanctions.

In 2005, the US called the former Soviet republic Europe's only remaining "outpost of tyranny".

The latest expulsions leave only four diplomats at the US embassy in Minsk.




SEE ALSO
US denies Belarussian expulsions
01 May 08 |  Americas
Country profile: Belarus
05 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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