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EURO: European Deputies Criticize Belarus

Saint Petersburg, 9 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- A top Council of Europe official said today that the 40-nation pro-demcracy human-rights body is closely following events in Belarus.

Leni Fischer (eds: a woman), who chairs the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said Belarus must meet the Council of Europe's rules if it wants to join the body.

Fischer commented in St. Petersburg after the Parliamentary Assembly held its first joint session with the Council of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly has criticised Belarus and its authoritarian president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, for what it says are human rights abuses and undemocratic practices.