Monday, 08 August 2005

Belarus Denies Entry To European Diplomats

Hrodna, Belarus; 8 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Belarus today denied a delegation from the European Parliament permission to enter the country.

Polish diplomat Bogdan Adam Klich, chairman of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Belarus, told RFE/RL: "I don't understand their decision. I think this action is illegal. The administration [of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka] violates the basic principles of international law, and the international community should draw conclusions from that."

The delegation was trying to enter Belarus to conduct a study on human rights and democratic standards. In particular, they wanted to investigate the recent conflict between the government and the Union of Poles in Belarus.

Minsk accuses high-ranking members of the Union of Poles in Belarus of holding unauthorized meetings and of embezzling funds from the organization.

Today's development comes amid worsening diplomatic relations between Warsaw and Minsk.

Belarus accuses Poland of interfering in its internal affairs. The two sides have recently engaged in a series of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.

(RFE/RL's Belarus Service)