11 August 2012The European Union will send a "very clear message" to Belarus over its diplomatic row with Sweden, a diplomat said.
The announcement was made at an emergency meeting in Brussels on Friday.
"Everyone around the table were absolutely clear that this was not just a situation merely between Sweden and Belarus. It's a situation that affects the EU's relations with Belarus," EU diplomat Olof Skoog said.
The row erupted after a Swedish PR firm dropped hundreds of teddy bears with pro-democracy messages over the former Soviet republic last month. The stunt led to Swedish diplomats being effectively expelled from Minsk.
"There is going to be a very clear message to all Belarusian ambassadors around Europe in the next few days expressing full solidarity with the Swedes on this," Skoog, who chairs talks on foreign policy issues among EU states, told reporters.
But the meeting stopped short of announcing further action against the country, which was first put under EU sanctions in 1996.
However, the bloc will review its sanctions against Belarus in the next few months, Skoog said.
On Friday, an EU diplomatic source told RIA Novosti a recall of all EU ambassadors from Belarus was on the cards.
Writing on his Twitter account, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that the country's ambassador Stefan Eriksson was shown the door because he had been "too supportive of human rights."
Belarus has also withdrawn all of its embassy staff from Stockholm.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko sacked a number of top officials over the July 4 stunt. Lukashenko, in power since 1994, has been accused by the EU and the United States of crushing human rights.
Along with his top aides, he is subject to strict EU and U.S. sanctions.
Earlier this week, two Belarusian journalists were told to pay hefty fines for taking photographs with the air-dropped teddy bears.