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Belarus Accepts EU Invite To October Talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- The European Union has invited Belarusian Foreign Minister Syarhey Martynau to rare talks with EU counterparts this month, an EU spokeswoman has said.

"[EU foreign-policy chief] Javier Solana invited him to come in a phone conversation they had this morning," Solana's spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said, adding that the minister had accepted.

The EU has been seeking to encourage democratic reform in Belarus, where the opposition was routed in an election this month.

Western monitors noted minor improvements over the staging of previous polls but said they still fell short of accepted standards.