On Wednesday Belarus shot down a hot air balloon which had crossed into its territory from Poland. Both Americans on board were killed. The craft was taking part in an international competition whose organizers in Switzerland said they had permission to enter Belarusian airspace. The U.S. government reacted swiftly and angrily. Belarus President Lukashenko sent a personal message to President Clinton, in which he characterized the incident as tragic, expressed regret, and extended condolences to the families of the dead Americans. (For greater depth, see "In Perspective" item below.)
Contact Group Meeting Postponed.