France’s ambassador ‘ordered out of Belarus,’ leaves before Monday deadline – reports

The French ambassador to Belarus has left Minsk after being ordered out of the country, AFP reported on Sunday. No explanation about the reported expulsion has been immediately available.

AFP’s Sunday evening report said that Ambassador Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste has already departed from Minsk, and that the Belarusian authorities had set an October 18 deadline for his departure. 

The agency cited a French embassy spokesman, who said that the envoy sent his goodbyes to the staff before leaving, but also recorded a “video message addressing the Belarusian people,” which is said to be scheduled to appear on Monday.

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It was not immediately clear what prompted the envoy's purported expulsion and, so far, the Belarusian government has made no official statement on the matter.

Paris and Minsk have been at odds since August 2020, after Paris, alongside other EU nations and the US, refused to recognize the results of presidential election won by the long-term Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Instead, Paris courted Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. She visited France back in September, meeting top officials including Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

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