The State Department announced yesterday that the United States is banning President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and “several dozen” senior Belarusan officials from entering the United States. The measure follows the similar ban imposed by the European Union and other countries, following Lukashenka’s unlawful appropriation of diplomatic residences in Minsk and forced departure of the envoys. State Department spokesman James Rubin stated that the United States and the other countries “cannot tolerate the forcible seizure of a diplomatic compound.” (Western agencies, July 14)
In a speech in Belarus yesterday, Lukashenka stated that the ban and related measures aim to undermine his chances of reelection as president. He predicted that Western actions against him will grow stronger in the run-up to July 1999, when a presidential election is due under the constitution abolished by Lukashenka. The European Union pointedly announced the visa ban on July 10, the anniversary of Lukashenka’s 1994 election as president. (Russian agencies, July 14)
POLAND TO HOST RADIO FREE BELARUS.