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Saturday, July 30, 2005

 

Poland recalls ambassador from Belarus

From The International Herald Tribune:

The Polish government recalled its ambassador to Belarus and urged the European Union Thursday to impose sanctions on the leadership of the country after members of the riot police with guns and dogs stormed a building used by ethnic Poles near the border with Poland.

The predawn raid took place in the western town of Grodno, about 280 kilometers, or 175 miles, west of the capital, Minsk, where most of the country's 400,000 Poles - about 4 percent of the 10.4 million population - live.

It was the latest crackdown against the Polish minority and quickly exacerbated tensions between Belarus, one of the last Communist-style regimes of the former Soviet Union, and Poland, which joined the European Union last year.

Belarus jailed three Polish activists on Wednesday for as long as 15 days for holding an illegal street concert.

The Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994 and who is seeking a third term next year, has systematically quashed most forms of opposition to his rule, according to diplomats in Minsk. He had accused the Polish minority of "fomenting revolution," a charge dismissed by Polish diplomats, and there has been a recent series of tit-for-tat expulsions among diplomats from the two countries.

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