Belarusian president accuses west of seeking his ouster

Alyaksandr Lukashenka delivered a more than three-hour-long speech to the All-Belarusian People's Assembly in Minsk on March 2, Belarusian media reported. Lukashenka told the forum, which comprised some 2,500 loyal supporters of his regime, that the West is channeling "hundreds of millions" of dollars to the Belarusian opposition to topple him in the March 19 presidential election. "Hundreds of millions are coming via Ukraine, the Baltic countries, and Poland. We know what embassies receive cash and bring it here, and later distribute the money," Lukashenka said. He claimed that Belarus's State Security Committee (KGB) has recently "busted 72 organizations" that had received "hundreds of millions of dollars, cell phones, computers, [and] already prepared election falsification documents." "On March 19 they will appear [in the streets] with these documents, which have already been prepared, declare one of these bastards [the opposition candidates] the winner and say that the authorities have rigged the vote. It's good that [KGB Chairman] Sukharenka with his guys, who are very few, have smashed this structure," Lukashenka added. JM // Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. RFE/RL