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EU Concerned About Human Rights Abuses In Belarus


http://gdb.rferl.org/967DA8DB-FCD4-450E-87BA-4CA7190836B9_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/967DA8DB-FCD4-450E-87BA-4CA7190836B9_mw800_mh600.jpg At a September 2005 protest in Minsk, Belarusian opposition members hold portraits of people who have gone missing under President Lukashenka's regime (epa) 15 February 2006 -- The European Union says it is concerned about what it calls persistent human rights abuses in Belarus.

Speaking today at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Austrian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Hans Winkler said he predicts that next month's elections will not bring about a "sweeping change."


Austria holds the current EU presidency.


President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is standing for a third term in the 19 March elections.


EU foreign ministers said on 30 January that they are ready to impose sanctions on Belarus if the vote is seen as being rigged.


(AP)

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