MINSK, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – The Swedish Embassy in Belarus said Tuesday that it was reopening more than a year after a Swedish company airdropped teddy bears with pro-democracy messages over the country, causing a diplomatic dispute.
“The Swedish Embassy will be open to visitors again,” the diplomatic mission said in a statement on its website. It noted, though, that Swedish visa applications were “still being accepted at the Estonian Embassy in Minsk.”
On July 4, 2012, a Swedish public relations company chartered a light aircraft to illegally enter Belarusian airspace and drop about 800 teddy bears with messages emphasizing the lack of human rights in the former Soviet republic.
The stunt led to a dispute between Belarus and Sweden, resulting in the expulsion of Swedish diplomats from Minsk and Belarus’ withdrawal of its embassy staff from Stockholm.
Only in spring this year did Belarus consent to allowing the Swedish charge d’affaires to come back to Minsk.
On Tuesday, Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Alena Kupchyna met with Sweden’s chargé d’affaires ad interim, Martin Oberg, and discussed “Belarusian-Swedish collaboration,” the ministry said in a statement.