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Belarus: Lukashenka Sacks Close Aide

Minsk, 24 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka continued a government shuffle yesterday, firing a close aide and supporter of his policy of integrating with Russia.

A presidential source told Reuters that Vladimir Zametalin was dismissed as deputy head of Lukashenka's administration following a presidential decree and put in charge of the state press committee. The story also was confirmed by our Belarus desk.

No reason was given for the sacking, but Lukashenka had complained of slow progress in moving closer to Russia since he and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a deal last April approving such a policy.