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EU Bans Belarusian Officials Over Disappearances


27 September 2004 -- The European Union banned three top Belarus officials and a high-ranking security officer from its territory today in a protest against the unexplained disappearances of three Belarusian opposition politicians and a journalist between 1999 and 2000.

The EU said in a statement that it had received no official reaction from Belarus to its call for an investigation. It was therefore instructing member countries to deny entry to officials alleged either to have a role in the disappearances or who had failed to launch inquiries.

The statement, issued by the bloc's current president, the Netherlands, said the EU reserves the right to consider additional measures at a later date.

An EU spokesman said those officials affected by the ban are Prosecutor-General Viktar Sheyman, former Interior Minister Yury Sivakou, current Interior Minister Uladzimir Navumau, and former Combined Rapid-Reaction Force (SOBR) commander Dzmitry Paulichenka.

(Reuters)
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