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EU Will Slap Visa Bans On 31 Top Belarusian Officials

BRUSSELS, April 7, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- European Union foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg on April 10, will impose a visa ban on 31 top Belarusian officials, an EU diplomat told RFE/RL today.

The list, to be headed by president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, will target officials considered responsible by the EU for the undemocratic conduct of last month's presidential elections and the crackdown that ensued.

Emma Udwin, a European Commission spokeswoman, said the list of Belarusian officials to be banned from entering the EU could be extended, if repressions continue.

"A decision will be taken on Monday, but we continue to watch the conduct of the Belarusian authorities," she said, noting that "there are still a very large number of people in detention, for example."

Apart from Lukashenka, the list will name members of the presidential administration, a number of ministers, the leadership of the country's KGB, some members of parliament, judges, and heads of local electoral commissions.

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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