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Belarus/Russia: Officials To Discuss ORT Row

Moscow, 5 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Officials from Russia and Belarus are due to discuss the ongoing row over the detention of a Russian television news crew at a meeting later today.

ITAR-TASS says the meeting will involve Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov and Belarus Presidential Aide Ural Latipov.

The row is over the detention of two employees of ORT television late last month in Minsk. An ORT reporter, and his cameraman, have been charged with illegally crossing the Belarus border from neighboring Lithuania.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin has said the row could prompt him to revise a union treaty between the two Slavic states. He has also attributed critical remarks made by Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on the matter to the Belarus leader's immaturity and an inability to handle criticism. Lukashenka has responded by saying Yeltsin was being misled on the ORT affair by Kremlin opponents of closer ties between Moscow and Minsk.