Estonia to summon Belarusian ambassador due to plane incident

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tallinn. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will summon the Belarusian ambassador to Estonia on Monday in connection with the Belarusian regime diverting a Vilnius-bound commercial plane to arrest an opposition journalist on Sunday (May 23).

"Estonia deems it necessary to summon the Belarusian ambassador to provide clear messages about how this activity is inadmissible, as it is in clear conflict with international law," Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) told ERR.

"At the same time, we will also send a clear message that the journalist who was arrested after the plane landed has to be released and if the journalist wants to, they should be allowed to leave Belarus."

The foreign minister noted that the incident is an unfortunate one as the plane was intimidated to land, endangering the lives of nearly 200 passengers.

Liimets confirmed that the ministry is awaiting the ambassador but it is not known when he will arrive. "I cannot give a time yet, but we are planning on it and will announce it to the public once it has taken place," the minister said.

In addition, the foreign minister said that the Belarus incident will be discussed at a European Council meeting set to take place in Brussels on Monday. "The Council is questioning multiple actions that the EU could act upon together to give Belarus a clear signal that such actions are inadmissible. Another question is if it is possible to suspend all overflights of Belarus by EU airlines," Liimets said.

She noted that Estonia as an elected member of the UN Security Council has initiated consultations to bring the issue to the council for discussions.

Belarusian authorities arrested Roman Protasevich, 26, at Minsk Airport on Sunday. Protasevich, an opposition activist and blogger, was traveling to Vilnius, Lithuania, on a plane that landed in Minsk after a bomb threat, which turned out to be false. On Sunday, the plane and most of its remaining passengers continued on to Vilnius but six passengers did not make it to Vilnius.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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