President of Belarus to visit Lithuania next week

The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) will stay in Lithuania on a working visit on September 16 at the invitation of the Lithuanian government, the Baltic country's foreign ministry said.

While in Vilnius, Mr. Lukashenka is scheduled to meet with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, attend the opening ceremony for a Belarusian-Lithuanian economic forum and inaugurate an exhibition of Belarusian-made goods.

When reached by BelaPAN on Thursday, Pavel Lyohki, press secretary of the Belarusian leader, did not confirm or deny the report.

Earlier this month, relatives of Mr. Lukashenka's three missing opponents urged the Lithuanian president to prevent his visit.

The petition was signed by opposition politician Viktar Hanchar's wife, Zinaida, as well as the mothers of former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka and journalist Dzmitry Zavadski, who went missing in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

The women said that Mr. Lukashenka's visit would take place on September 16, the 10th anniversary of the unsolved disappearance of Mr. Hanchar and his businessman friend Anatol Krasowski, who are believed by many to have been kidnapped and murdered by a government-run death squad.

"In our opinion, Mr. Lukashenka's visit will mean only one thing - the recognition by the Lithuanian Republic of the legitimacy of the current ruling regime, which is still suspected of the horrible crimes," they said.



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