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Belarus Opposition Leader Travels To Austria


http://gdb.rferl.org/DDD8DF6C-728F-44B9-B07C-F5D285C9F6F1_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/DDD8DF6C-728F-44B9-B07C-F5D285C9F6F1_mw800_mh600.jpg Milinkevich and his wife, Inna, voting in Minsk in the March 19 election (epa) April 3, 2006 -- Belarus opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich travels to Vienna today for talks with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel.


Milinkevich ran for president in Belarus's March 19 election, which was won for a third time by incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Milinkevich has led protests against the poll, which the Belarus opposition says was rigged.


The European Union and the United States have backed those claims and both have announced more sanctions against Belarus government officials.


Milinkevich is hoping to use his trip to Vienna to urge the EU to increase pressure on the Lukashenka government. Austria currently holds the rotating EU Presidency.


(Reuters)

The EU Watches Minsk

Belarusian students studying at an EU-funded university in Vilnius, Lithuania

WATCHING AND WAITING: The European Union repeatedly urged Minsk to conduct a fair and democratic presidential election on March 19. The EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement today that the recent arrests of Belarusian opposition figures are "unacceptable" campaign violations. Ferrero-Waldner repeated an EU threat of "targeted sanctions" against top Belarusian officials if the elections are not free and fair. However, the EU will withhold final judgment until March 20, when the bloc's foreign ministers meet in Brussels....(more)

Related stories:

Belarus: EU-Funded Broadcasts Set To Begin

Belarus: Oppositionist Seeks EU Support For 'Revolution Of Hope'

Belarus: EU Foreign Ministers Meet With Opposition Leader

Belarus: EU Bolsters Support For Opposition Ahead Of Vote


Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.


Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.

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