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Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus on the Decision by the United States and the European Union to Impose Restrictions Against Belarusian Officials

The European Union and the United States have responded to the election of President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at the direct and general elections with a decision to impose restrictions against a number of Belarusian officials.

It is difficult to comprehend the sense of this decision. Both the US and the EU had never questioned Mr. Lukashenko being the most popular leader in Belarus who leaves far behind all other contenders. It means that the peoples choice is not liked.

At the same time, the US and the EU continue to pronounce their interest in friendly relations with the Belarusian people. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses once again: if the United States and the European Union respect the people of our country, they must respect the choice they have made.

Responding to the peoples choice with restrictions means rejecting the Belarusian citizens right to live in their country at their own discretion, not somebody elses. This policy is not the best. Above all, it is a dead-end policy.

The Republic of Belarus reserves the right to undertake reciprocal actions.

Minsk, 24 March 2006

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