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Polish President Urges Minsk To Observe Minority Rights

Polish President Kwasniewski (file photo) 15 August 2005 -- Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski today called on the Belarusian government to respect the rights of the Polish minority in the country.

In a speech for Polish Armed Forces Day, Kwasniewski said he expected authorities in Belarus to respect their international commitments towards minorities and freedom of the media.

Kwasniewski said Poland would continue to insist that Poles and other nationalities in Belarus have the right to meet freely and elect their representatives.

Earlier this year, authorities in Belarus refused to recognize the new leadership of the Union of Poles of Belarus, which represents 20,000 of the some 400,000 ethnic Poles in Belarus.

Belarusian authorities arrested several officials from the association at the end of July and accused its leaders of being puppets of Warsaw.

Warsaw then recalled its ambassador to Belarus.