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Belarus To Bar U.S., Canadian Overflights --> President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (file photo) (epa) May 25, 2006 -- The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said today it will ban flights over its territory by U.S. and Canadian aircraft.

The move is a response to a refusal by the United States and Canada to allow an aircraft carrying Belarus' prime minister to refuel last month on its way to and from Cuba.

The Foreign Ministry also said Belarus is preparing a legal challenge in international courts to contest visa sanctions imposed by the West on Belarusian officials.


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)

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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.