Ireland makes diplomatic moves on Chernobyl children from Belarus

Dublin - Ireland has asked its ambassador to Belarus to discuss a travel ban on children affected by the Chernobyl disaster with the Belarusian authorities, Irish national broadcaster RTE reported Monday.

Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said he had asked the ambassador to discuss formal arrangements for the children, 1,000 of whom visit Ireland each year for holidays and medical treatment, following a travel ban imposed on all children last week after a Belarusian teen refused to return home after a summer holiday in the United States.

Thousands of Belarusian children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster enjoy foreign holidays funded by the charity the Chernobyl Children's Project.

The project's CEO, Adi Roche, described last week's ban as 'shocking news.' Minister Martin was speaking after meeting her Monday morning.

RTE reported that Belarus had sought a bilateral agreement with Ireland on the children's visits more than 12 months ago, but that Dublin had not yet signed one.



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