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George W. Bush issues ban on U.S. entry for Belarus govt.

RIA Novosti

16/05/2006 09:57

WASHINGTON, May 16 (RIA Novosti) - President George W. Bush has banned senior Belarusian officials and people with ties to the Belarusian government from traveling to the United States, the White House press service said Tuesday.

The ban comes in the wake of a similar embargo imposed on top Belarusian officials by the European Union following President Alexander Lukashenko's victory in the presidential elections in March, which the U.S. and international observers deemed fraudulent.

The document, signed May 12, said the U.S. should limit and suspend entry for Lukashenko and his government, "and other persons who formulate, implement, participate in, or benefit from policies or actions, including electoral fraud, human rights abuses, or corruption, that undermine or injure democratic institutions or impede the transition to democracy in Belarus."

Families of top Belarusian officials and people with business ties to the Belarusian government are also covered by the travel ban.

Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by Washington, was re-elected for a third presidential term on March 19 taking a landslide victory with 83% of the vote, but opposition leaders and international observers denounced the elections as fraudulent.

Although he has support in his homeland for maintaining relative stability in comparison with some other former Soviet republics, his human rights record has been fiercely criticized by international organizations.

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