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Saakashvili: Belarusian Leader Doesn't Understand Democracy

President Saakashvili (file photo) Kyiv, 16 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today criticized his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka, saying the he had no understanding of democracy.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have worsened in recent weeks. Belarus' opposition has said that Lukashenka fears democratic activists are trying to spur a popular uprising similar to Georgia's, which brought Western-leaning Saakashvili to the presidency.

Saakashvili was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Ukraine, another ex-Soviet republic where the opposition came to power after last year's mass protests, dubbed the Orange Revolution, against the ruling government.

(AP, RFE/RL's Belarus Service)