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U.S. 'Disappointed' After Belarus Quits Nuclear Deal

August 20, 2011

The United States has expressed disappointment after Belarus said it was suspending its involvement in a plan to get rid of its stockpile of highly enriched uranium with U.S. assistance.

The Belarus Foreign Ministry on August 19 said Minsk was withdrawing from the agreement reached with Washington last year because of what it called "illegitimate" U.S. sanctions.

The United States and European Union have introduced sanctions against the regime of Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in response to the regime's crackdown against political opponents.

Reacting to the Belarus announcement, the U.S. State Department said it was "disappointed" and said it hopes Belarus still "intends to meet its stated objective of the elimination of all of its stocks of highly enriched uranium."

The State Department said this would be a "responsible contribution to global security."

Lukashenka has said Belarus has "hundreds of kilograms" of highly enriched uranium from Soviet times -- material that could potentially be diverted for use in a nuclear weapon.

compiled from agency reports

Source: quits_nuclear_deal/24302581.html

Copyright (c) 2011. 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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