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Belarus Accuses Polish NGO Of Spying

22 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Belarus has accused a Polish-based NGO of spying and banned it from operating in the country.

Belarus television reported yesterday that the Foreign Ministry had banned the Dialogue European Fund. The nongovernmental organization worked to promote cooperation between the scientists of Central and Eastern Europe.

Jerzy Jaskiernia, chairman of the Polish parliament's foreign relations committee, expressed dismay at the move.

"I am disappointed that it has happened this way because I was a supporter of improving Belarusian-Polish relations," Jaskiernia said. "We are neighbors; we have many common interests. However, it seems that the Belarusian side seeks escalation in these relations."

The incident is the latest in a series of spats between Minsk and Warsaw. Poland earlier said Warsaw may expel a Belarus diplomat in response to Minsk's expulsion of a Polish envoy.

Also today, Belarus police detained at least seven activists from the opposition youth group Zubr for holding an unsanctioned demonstration.

Related stories:

Poland's Row With Belarus To Affect Visa Policy

Warsaw Turns Up Diplomatic Heat On Minsk Over Polish Group

Belarus: Expelled U.S. Academic Says Minsk In Anti-Western 'Cleanup'

Belarus Orders Expulsion Of Polish Diplomat

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