The Government of Belarus has suspended the country's membership of the Eastern Partnership - the EU flagship framework for co-operation with its neighbours to the east. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are the other members of the partnership.
The press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in which it said it had recalled its Ambassador to Brussels for consultations. The moves come in response to EU sanctions against Belarus following a crackdown on opposition activists and the forced landing of a Ryanair plan carrying a political opponent of the government.
"In connection with the unprecedented restrictive measures against Belarus", the head of the EU Delegation Dirk Schuebel was summoned to the Foreign Ministry today. “The Ambassador of the European Union was informed of the firm position of the Belarusian side on the absolute unacceptability of the use of sanctions as an instrument of pressure on a sovereign and independent state", the foreign ministry said in its statement.
The EU has condemned the government decision to suspend its membership of the Eastern Partnership and said it would continue to co-operate with the people of Belarus.