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Belarus closes its Embassy in Israel «on the principles of reciprocity»

Thursday, January 7, it became known that the Belarusian authorities, «based on the principle of reciprocity», took the decision to close the Embassy in tel Aviv after the Israeli authorities decided to close its Embassy in Minsk.

It is reported «Belarusian Telegraph Agency» with reference to the head of information Department, press Secretary of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Belarus Dmitry Mironchik.

«Normal diplomatic practice is that the closure of the Embassy respond in a similar way. Regret to confirm that due to the Israeli decision to close the Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, guided by the principle of reciprocity, also obliged to take measures on the termination of activity of its diplomatic mission in tel Aviv», – said in comments.

The representative of the Belarusian foreign Ministry is convinced that the Israeli side makes a mistake, ignoring the fact that countries are linked by the fate of tens of thousands of people for whom Israel and Belarus are close and friendly countries, as well as overall positive dynamics of bilateral relations in various fields. «Such a wrong move was already made by our Israeli partners in 2003, and less than a year they had to fix,» Mr Mironchik stressed, expressing confidence that the relations between Belarus and Israel at the ambassadorial level – an objective necessity, and the resumption of their activities – only a matter of time.

Editorial from diplomatic sources have informed that the Israeli foreign Ministry sent a note about the closure of the Embassy in Minsk «until the end of 2016». Currently the Israeli Ambassador in Belarus. Perhaps, for some period, the Israeli Embassy will continue to function without the Ambassador.

Amid the celebration of Christmas the Embassy of Belarus in Israel, as at January 7, comments. In the beginning of next week the Belarusian Ambassador should make a statement about the situation.

The post of the Ambassador of Belarus in Israel currently (January 2014) is Vladimir Skvortsov. Until the end of September 2015, the Ambassador of Israel in Belarus was Yosef Shagal (Joseph Shchegolev).

Mr. Shagal said editorial that the trade turnover between Belarus and Israel is hundreds of millions of shekels a year (according to Belarusian Foreign Ministry, in 2014 it amounted to about 127 million dollars). According to him, in the face of such economic cooperation between the two States weird to talk about «economic feasibility» of closing embassies in Minsk.

That the Israeli Embassy in Minsk can be closed, it became known in August last year, the day after the Israeli government approved the abolition of visas with Belarus. 26 November 2015 visa-free regime entered into force.

The decision to close the Israeli Embassy in Minsk has drawn sharp criticism from former foreign Minister and leader of the party «Our home Israel» of Avigdor Lieberman. «The closure of the Embassy in Minsk is a completely crazy move, both from the point of view of the political, and from the point of view of state interests. This will cause Israel severe damage in the international arena and a great harm to relations with the Republic of Belarus. Since Netanyahu took the post of foreign Minister, he should know that such acts are in diplomatic practice, bilateral, and Belarus, respectively, will close its Embassy in Israel,» said Lieberman January 6.

The head of the party NDI noted that in Israel lives 130 thousand natives of Belarus. «For them, the closure of the Embassy will create serious difficulties, as for Belarusian Jews who want to emigrate to Israel or are in need of consular services. Besides, these are often elderly people, many of whom are world war II veterans or Holocaust survivors,» said Lieberman. He also recalled that the decision to open the Israeli Embassy was made by Yitzhak Shamir, and subsequently implemented by Yitzhak Rabin’s government in which Shimon Peres was appointed Foreign Minister.

The former head of the Israeli foreign policy Department have noticed that in recent times Belarus is increasing its influence in the international arena. «Only for the last year Minsk was visited by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, the President of China XI Jinping, Prime Minister of India Narendra modi. Today Belarus is an active participant in the settlement process between Russia and Ukraine. It is no coincidence and agreement between these States are called «Minsk». In the last month was acquitted of the majority of EU sanctions, previously imposed on Belarus. And instead to strengthen relations with Belarus, which is in the interest of Israel, Netanyahu is doing the opposite,» said Lieberman.

According to the former Minister of foreign Affairs, stating that the Embassy is closed for reasons of economy, simply look ridiculous, especially at a time when the government famously juggles billions of shekels, generously distributing them between ultra-Orthodox and Arabs. «The Embassy in Minsk costs the state about 4 million shekels a year. Arab sector through Ayman Udu, Hanin Zuabi and others like them were allocated 15 billion shekels. In the framework of the coalition agreements распределены12,4 billion shekels, most of which went to the ultra-Orthodox parties – Shas and «Aadat a-Torah». In 2015, the budget surplus amounted to 22-23 billion shekels. Against this background, talking about saving 4 million shekels a year just immoral», said Avigdor Liberman.

Belarus closes its Embassy in Israel «on the principles of reciprocity» 07.01.2016

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