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Belarus: President Addresses Parliament; Sends Message To Clinton

Minsk, 11 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said today no one -- "either in the West or in the East " -- had the right to give Minsk grades for political behavior.

In his first address to Parliament after a controversial November constitutional referendum, Lukashenka also said the international isolation of his country was gradually fading away.

Lukashenka, who last week signed a watered-down version of a union treaty with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, said Belarus saw its security guarantees as linked with the union of the two countries.

Russian news agencies earlier today reported that in a live talk show on Belarusian television last night Lukashenka said his country seeks cordial relations with the United states. In a message to U.S. President Bill Clinton, Lukashenka had said that the expulsions of U.S. citizens last month should be viewed as exceptions. Clinton has not replied to Lukashenka's message.