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Head Of Disputed Polish Group In Belarus Resigns

Andzelika Borys
Andzelika Borys
HRODNA, Belarus -- The head of a disputed cultural organization for ethnic Poles in Belarus said she has resigned for personal reasons, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB) Deputy Chairman Mieczyslaw Jaskiewicz confirmed to RFE/RL today that ZPB Chairwoman Andzelika Borys announced the decision on June 12.

Borys was elected head of the nonpolitical organization in 2005.

ZPB General Council head Andrzej Poczobut told RFE/RL the organization will meet on June 19 to elect a new leader.

Minsk's treatment of the group strained ties between Belarus and the European Union earlier this year, after the ZPB was evicted from its office buildings near Minsk and police detained a number of its activists.

ZPB has been trying to regain official registration in Belarus for the past five years. Last year, Belarusian officials registered the Union of Belarusian Poles, an alternative organization representing ethnic Poles in Belarus.

A local ethnic Polish businessman, Stanislaw Siemaszko, was named the Union of Belarusian Poles' leader. However, the Polish government recognizes the ZPB as the only legal representative of ethnic Poles in Belarus.

About 4 percent of Belarus's 9.7 million people are ethnic Poles.