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EU: All States But One Impose Travel Ban On Lukashenka

Brussels, 19 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- All of the European Union nations except Portugal today agreed to impose a travel ban on Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and seven government ministers. EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels decided to impose the ban in protest against human rights violations by the Belarusian government. The ministers had earlier said they were considering barring some 50 Belarusian officials. Reports said Portugal was seeking a more flexible way of dealing with Belarus.

Czech authorities had already barred Lukashenka from attending a NATO summit in Prague this week, denying him an entry visa. EU candidates such as the Czech Republic are expected to participate in the travel ban.

Following the Czech decision, Lukashenka made plans to visit Kyrgyzstan instead of the NATO summit. But Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Ministry today told RFE/RL that he has called off his trip. The reason for the cancellation not given.