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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Interpol Meeting Opens in Minsk

MINSK -- An Interpol regional conference opened in Belarus on Wednesday amid a boycott by the European Union -- a move that drew sharp criticism from the international police agency's head.

Only 12 out of 46 countries in the region are taking part in the two-day conference, after the EU prevented police representatives from attending. That move was meant to protest the recent disputed re-election of hardline Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Interpol is the world's largest international police organization.

"To let politics influence how police information is exchanged is a dangerous path to follow and will only further increase the risk to people around the world from those who would profit from such decisions," Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble said.

Belarussian Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov accused the EU of "benefiting criminals" by staying away from the conference.