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Supporters of Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich at a postelection rally on March 22 (file photo) (epa) April 20, 2006 -- Norway has pledged its support of the political opposition in Belarus.


Following a meeting with Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich in Oslo, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg also announced that Norway, which is not an EU-member, would follow the European Union in barring visas for 31 senior Belarus officials, including President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.


Milinkevich finished a distant second to Lukashenka in elections last month. The opposition, as well as Western governments and observers, have condemned the poll as fraudulent.


Later on April 20, Milinkevich is to address a seminar organized by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee on the situation in Belarus.


On April 21, he is due to meet Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.


(AP, dpa)

Assessing The Election

A police officer closes the gate on a Minsk detention center after demonstrators were brought there on March 24, 2006 (RFE/RL)

LOOKING BACK: On March 21, 2006, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a briefing on the March 19 presidential election in Belarus and its unfolding aftermath. The roundtable discussion featured CELESTE WALLANDER, director and senior fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; "The New York Times" Moscow correspondent STEVEN LEE MYERS; and RFE/RL Belarus Service Director ALEXANDER LUKASHUK (the latter two speaking via telephone from Minsk).
The roundtable discussion focused on the actions of the administration of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka during the campaign and the election and on what the world can expect from Lukashenka's third term in office.

Listen to the entire briefing (about 60 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


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

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