Germany's Goethe-Institut Announces Suspension Of Activities In Belarus Starting Friday

(@FahadShabbir)

Germany's Goethe-Institut Announces Suspension of Activities in Belarus Starting Friday

The Goethe-Institut network of state-run German cultural centers said on Friday that it is suspending all operations in Belarus, after 27 years of uninterrupted presence, at the request of the Belarusian government

MINSK (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 30th July, 2021) The Goethe-Institut network of state-run German cultural centers said on Friday that it is suspending all operations in Belarus, after 27 years of uninterrupted presence, at the request of the Belarusian government.

The German foreign ministry said a month ago, on June 30, that Belarus demanded the cessation of activities of the Goethe-Institut and the German Academic Exchange Service in the country. Berlin warned that the move would lead to Minsk's "further international isolation."

"The German embassy in Minsk has received a demand from the Belarusian foreign ministry that the Goethe-Institut suspend its activities in Belarus starting July 30," the center said in a statement on its website.

This is the first such restriction for the Goethe-Institut network, which has 157 offices operating freely around the world, Secretary General Johannes Ebert said.

"We regret this demand of the Belarusian leadership and hope that we can resume our work in Belarus soon," he added.

Belarus took a hard line with EU countries, including Germany, against a backdrop of diplomatic alienation since the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, which incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide. The Belarusian opposition challenged the results and secured Europe's backing, with Brussels imposing sanctions on Belarusian officials deemed responsible for alleged electoral fraud and crackdown on post-election protests.

Tensions further escalated this May when the EU sanctioned Belarus for a forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, after which a Belarusian pro-opposition journalist among the passengers was arrested.