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Belarus: Lukashenka Denounces Moscow Opponents Of Union Treaty

Minsk, 10 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka today lashed out at his Moscow critics, accusing them of blocking implementation of a union treaty between Russia and Belarus.

Earlier today the upper houses of both the Russian and Belarusian parliament overwhelmingly voted to ratify the treaty. The treaty and the accompanying charter had previously been approved by the lower chambers of both countries.

Speaking during ratification hearings in Minsk today, Lukashenka said unidentified Russian government officials had watered down agreements reached with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and were trying to "torpedo" the treaty.

Lukashenka threatened to take up the matter with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin when he meets him "in the nearest future" and with Yeltsin afterwards.

In Moscow a Russian government spokesman (Igor Shabdurasulov) and the presidential press-service denied knowledge of planned meetings between Lukashenka and the Russian leaders.

Lukashenka also described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "a tregady" and said that his main goal was, in his words, "to bring back what has been ruined".

Lukashenka told reporters that Russia and Belarus will exchange the ratified treaties tomorrow. Lukashenka said Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov will attend the special ceremony in Minsk.