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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lukashenko Faces EU Blacklist

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- EU foreign ministers are expected to put Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and 50 senior leadership officials on a visa blacklist Tuesday and expect candidate countries from Eastern and Central Europe to follow suit.

However, Poland is unlikely to join the travel ban, Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said Monday.

"We are very critical about the situation in Belarus. ... But as neighbors we have a lot of practical issues to discuss," Cimoszewicz said after meeting EU ministers.

Poland's action was unlikely to be "as far reaching" as the EU move, he said.

An EU diplomat said Poland's stance was disappointing and did not augur well for plans to harmonize EU foreign policies after the country joins the bloc in 2004 along with nine other candidates.

The EU has been considering a ban for some time in reaction to what it sees as Lukashenko's suppression of opposition and freedom of speech. The immediate reason is Lukashenko's order to expel observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which called the president's re-election in September 2001 fraudulent.