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Belarus: President Fires Prime Minister, Other Ministers

Minsk, 10 July 2003 (NCA) -- Reports say Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka today fired his prime minister and several other senior officials. The Agency-France Press news agency quotes government officials as saying Prime Minister Henadz Novitski has been temporarily replaced by First Deputy Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorski.

The Reuters news agency quotes Belarusian officials as saying Lukashenka fired Novitski, Deputy Prime Minister Alyaksandr Popkau and Agriculture Minister Mikhail Rusiy for what the president said was ineffective performance, following a row over unpaid wages to teachers and agricultural workers.

Lukashenka has ruled the country of 10 million people since 1994.