- Title: BELARUS: Belarus announces retaliatory measures in responce to EU travel ban.
- Date: 12th April 2006
- Summary: EMBLEM OF BELARUS FOREIGN MINISTRY ON THE WALL
- Embargoed: 27th April 2006 13:00
- Location: Belarus
- Country: Belarus
- Topics: International Relations,European Union
- Reuters ID: LVAAH69K33W4G9B0M09W0UM7P2KX
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Belarus has dismissed a travel ban imposed by the European Union on President Alexander Lukashenko and 30 other senior officials.
Late on Monday (April 10), a Belarus foreign ministry spokesman in Minsk said the government would impose retalitory measures.
"The European Union and the United States cannot alter the choice made by the Belarussian people," the Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Popov said at the briefing in Minsk.
"Belarus finds itself obliged to take appropriate retaliatory measures against the EU and the United States. In accordance with international practice, they will affect similar categories of persons," Popov told reporters at the briefing.
The EU on Monday banned Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and 30 ministers, prosecutors and regional election officials from entering the 25-nation bloc.
EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, said they had sanctioned them for allegedly rigging Belarus's March 19 presidential polls and for a crackdown on opposition activists.
The EU did not freeze the assets of the banned individuals for now but warned it may do so later, possibly as early as next month, and asked the executive European Commission to propose further targeted measures.
The foreign ministers vowed to help Belarussian civil society, including by enabling students to come and study in the EU and by enhancing access to independent media.
Lukashenko, sworn in on Saturday, was number one on the visa-ban list, followed by his head of presidential administration, Gennady Nevyglas, the ministers of education, information and justice, as well as the chairman of the lower house of parliament and the head of the KGB security service.
Others named include the prosecutor-general, several judges and prosecutors, the country's seven regional election officials and the head of the state television and radio company.
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