Brussels, 13 July 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Seven Central and Eastern European countries have linked themselves to a move by the European Union to stop issuing entry visas to Belarus government officials.
EU officials agreed to recommend the entry visa ban last Thursday, and a
meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels is expected to formally accept that
Our correspondent in Brussels reports that in a joint declaration the seven EU
candidate members from Central and East Europe said they share the EU's
objectives in this matter. They are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Candidate members Iceland, Norway and
Cyprus also joined the declaration, but Poland did not, saying such action is
not compatible with its present chairmanship of the Organisation for Security
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka today criticized the EU move as
unreasonable. It is the latest act in the diplomatic row between Minsk and major
western countries, including the U.S. The row started when Belarus denied
ambassadors access to their residences in Minsk's diplomatic compound.