US Flip-Flops on Closing Belarus' DC Embassy

Shuttering was to be retaliation for republic's booting of Americans
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2008 2:23 PM CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei presidential residence in a Black Sea resort city...   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service, Mikhail Klimentyev)
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(Newser) – Washington backpedaled at the last minute from closing the Belarusian embassy today, the AP reports. The State Department aims to retaliate for yesterday's expulsion of most of the staff of the US embassy in Minsk—and could yet take action against Belarus diplomats, an official said.

The US is a vocal critic of Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’ president-for-life, and in 2005 called the country Europe’s sole remaining “outpost of tyranny.” The US recently imposed sanctions on Belneftekhim, the national oil company.