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Belarus: Minsk Threatens To Expel OSCE Mission Chief

Minsk, 17 May 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Belarus threatened today to expel the Minsk mission chief of the OSCE for what the government says are attempts by the pan-European body to destabilize the country. Foreign Minister Mikhail Khvostov said Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe mission head Hans-Georg Wieck had already been warned.

The minister said Belarus will no longer tolerate OSCE activities aimed at destabilizing the country, and that if such activities continue Minsk will examine the question of his expulsion.

He said the West had "practically transformed the OSCE into an instrument of control over eastern European countries."

The OSCE mission chief was unavailable for comment.

The OSCE's advisory and monitoring group in Belarus is mandated to help train election officials and provide support for conferences and programs held by non-governmental organizations ahead of the presidential vote expected in September.