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Belarus says will appeal EU, U.S. entry ban for govt. officials

15:56 25/05/2006

MINSK, May 25 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus will appeal decisions by the European Union and the United States to deny state officials entry, a spokesman for the country's president said Thursday.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that he had instructed the government to prepare appeals against the EU and the U.S. decisions in international courts.

"The legitimacy of such an instruction is obvious," Andrei Popov said. "The restrictions directly violate the principles of the Helsinki accords related to freedom of travel."

The U.S. and 25 EU member states have imposed the entry ban on the Belarus president and other top Belarusian officials following Lukashenko's landslide victory in the presidential election in March, which the U.S. and international observers said was flawed.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU commissioner for external affairs, said on the eve of the Russia-EU summit that the EU had also frozen the assets of the Belarusian leader and more than 30 other politicians who the EU considers to have been involved in violence and intimidation in the poll.

But Ferrero-Waldner said the EU nevertheless supported the Belarusian people. "It is important that Belarusians understand that the measures we are taking will only affect those who in our view are cheating the people of their rights," she said. "We will take no measures that hurt the rest of the population."

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RIA NovostiBelarus says will appeal EU, U.S. entry ban for govt. officials

15:56 25/05/2006 Belarus will appeal decisions by the European Union and the United States to deny state officials entry, a spokesman for the country's president said Thursday.>>

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