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Belarus: President Ready To Grant Visas To OSCE Officials

Minsk, 4 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says he is "ready" to grant visas to representatives of the pan-European security body to discuss the reopening of its mission in Minsk. Lukashenka today said in Minsk that he will "immediately" give visas to representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Two months ago, Belarus expelled the OSCE's last remaining representative after accusing the mission of interfering in the country's internal affairs. Lukashenka's government had already expelled last April the two top OSCE officials in Minsk.

Last month, the European Union and the United States imposed a travel ban on Lukashenka and high-ranking members of his government as a sign of disapproval over the government's human rights record.