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European Diplomats Urge Steps To Oust Belarus Leader

Alyaksandr Lukashenka (file photo) 10 October 2005 -- European diplomats today recommended tough international action including trade sanctions and freezing assets to support opponents of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The diplomats made the recommendations at Forum 2000 -- a Prague conference backed by former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

Brian Bennet, Britain's ambassador to Belarus, said that today in Belarus the human rights situation "is getting worse."

Bennett, whose country now holds the EU presidency, suggested using EU funds to back the Lukashenka opposition.

Boris Nemtsov, a Russian politician and advisor to the Ukrainian government, called Belarus "a real dictatorship."

Belarus opposition leader Aleksandr Milinkevich, who hopes to run against Lukashenka in an election next year, likened the current situation in Belarus with Stalin's dictatorship in the Soviet era.


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