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Belarus: Minister Gives Conflicting Signals On European Integration

Minsk, 28 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Belarus' Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich has given conflicting signals on European integration.

After meeting a team of experts from the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Antanovich said Belarus seeks integration into all European structures.

At a news conference later yesterday, Antanovich said he did not see much need for the team's mission. He said Belarus has no interest in Council of Europe membership, as it would only mean "that dues will have to be paid."

The Council of Europe this month suspended Belarus' special guest status. And the Council, EU and OSCE have all expressed grave concern about the November referendum that enhanced the powers of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and extended his term. They have also criticized Lukashenka's forming a new Parliament, which reports have said is filled with his supporters.