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Belarus Seeks Clarification Of Ukrainian Premier's Comments

Prime Minister Yekhanurov in Minsk on 18 October (AFP) Minsk, 4 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Recent comments by Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov have created a diplomatic spat with Belarus, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported.

During a visit to Washington, Yekhanurov said on 1 November that he expects the 2006 presidential election in Belarus to be democratic. He said Ukraine wants Belarus to be a "peaceful neighbor."

Yekhanurov also described Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka as "a talented propagandist," unexpectedly adding: "Now I understand why women in the 1930s shouted," I want a baby with the Fuehrer!"

Belarusian lawmakers reacted with anger to Yekhanurov's comments, and Ruslan Yesin, acting spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, at a briefing in Minsk on 4 November said Belarus had asked Kyiv for an explanation.

Yekhanurov met with Lukashenka during a visit to Minsk just over two weeks ago.