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Belarus: Polish Ambassador Says No Change In Fuel-Import Limits

Minsk, 7 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Poland's ambassador to Belarus said today that recent limitations on gasoline imports from Belarus will continue until the two countries sign a new trade agreement. Speaking on Belarusian national television, Polish Ambassador Tadeus Pavliak said that the recent gasoline limits have caused an unfortunate situation but that his government would continue to enforce the limit.

Gasoline and diesel prices in Belarus are close to one-third less than international prices, resulting in private Belarusian traders hauling fuel into Poland. Polish officials say the fuel traders evade taxes and usually violate safety regulations to conduct their trade.

Earlier this month, thousands of drivers were virtually stranded at Belarus's border with Poland after the new regulations were introduced. Traffic was backed up 14 kilometers and drivers faced up to a 36-hour wait.