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Belarus: U.S. Soros Foundation Official Denied Entry

Minsk, 17 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Belarus has accused the local executive director of the Soros Foundation of supporting the opposition and barred him from re-entering the country.

The foundation, set up by American businessman George Soros, has invested $13 million in Belarus, mostly for education, ecological and medical programs.

State television said today Peter Bern, a U.S. citizen, was accused by authorities of interfering in Belarusian domestic affairs. It said that Bern was accused of taking part in mass actions organized by the opposition.

Bern, who is based in Minsk, had tried to return to Belarus yesterday from a meeting in Budapest of the foundation's executive directors from Central and Eastern Europe.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman, Alexei Solomakha, said the embassy believes that Belarus violated international by failing to inform American diplomats about the incident.