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Belarus sacks foreign minister after teddy bear row with Sweden and EU

Posted by satyrikon στο Αυγούστου 20, 2012

Originally posted on National Post | News:

AFP PHOTO – LEHTIKUVA / Jussi Nukari *

MINSK — Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko sacked his foreign minister on Monday, weeks after a diplomatic row with Sweden and the European Union over a pro-democracy stunt in which hundreds of teddy bears were airdropped over the country.

Lukashenko’s office, which announced the dismissal of Sergei Martynov, 59, who had held the post since 2003, did not provide any reasons for the decision. Lukashenko named 54-year-old Vladimir Makei, previously his chief-of-staff, as the country’s new foreign minister.

Earlier this month, Belarus expelled Sweden’s ambassador after a plane chartered by a Swedish public relations firm dropped about 800 toy bears over the authoritarian country in July, each carrying a message urging the former Soviet republic to show greater respect for human rights.

Lukashenko sacked two generals, including the head of air defense, and told the incoming border guards chief to use weapons if…

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