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Belarus: Lukashenka's Walkout On Poland's President Not A Snub

By Walter Stankievich and Joe Schneider

Prague, 6 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's press aide today denied charges Lukashenka snubbed Poland's President Alexander Kwasniewski by walking out on his speech.

At an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Lisbon on Tuesday, Kwasniewski was highly critical of Belarus and called on Lukashenka to observe human rights in his country.

Television cameras caught Lukashenka and his Belarus delegation walking out of the summit hall during Kwasniewski's speech.

Lukashenka's press aide, Valery Talkachou, said today Lukashenka did leave the hall, but not because of the criticism or because Poland and Belarus have differing views on NATO expansion. Talkachou said Lukashenka was on his way to attend a previously-scheduled meeting with OSCE chairman Flavio Cotti.

A spokesman for the OSCE at the Swiss Foreign Office, Franz Egle, today confirmed Lukashenka and Cotti met on Tuesday morning.