Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to close the Israeli Embassy in Minsk, Belarus.
The decision follows a series of discussions and consultations with senior Foreign Ministry officials and with Minister Zeev Elkin.
Prime Minister Netanyahu views as important the existence of an Israeli diplomatic mission in Belarus.
Charge d'Affaires ad Interim of Israel in Belarus Yulia Rachinski-Spivakov said “Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption Zeev Elkin said on 9 March that he met with the Prime Minister who informed him about the decision to keep the embassy open. The decision was announced officially.”
The decision to close the Israeli Embassy in Belarus was announced in January 2016. In a reciprocal move, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced its intention to close its diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv.
The Israeli government took the decision to reduce the number of its foreign missions in August 2015, citing budgetary constraints. Initially, it planned to shut down eight or nine diplomatic representations. However, the final list, which the Israeli foreign ministry made public on 7 January, included, in addition to the diplomatic mission in Minsk, only the embassy in San Salvador and the consulates in Philadelphia and Marseilles.
The decision to close the embassy in Minsk triggered a sharp reaction from Belarus, which threatened to respond by closing its own embassy in Israel. Israel closed its embassy in Minsk in 2002 but reopened it two years later.