U.S. Embassy protests expulsion

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Mar 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/24/97
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<I><A HREF='http://www.clari.net/'>ClariNet</A> <CLARI-ITEM TYPE>story</CLARI-ITEM> <B><CLARI-ITEM SLUGWORD>BELARUS-US</CLARI-ITEM></B> from <CLARI-ITEM FROM>UPI</CLARI-ITEM></I><BR>
<H1><CLARI-ITEM HEADLINE>U.S. Embassy protests expulsion</CLARI-ITEM></H1>
<I><B><CLARI-ITEM COPYRIGHT>Copyright 1997 by United Press International</CLARI-ITEM></B></I> / <I><CLARI-ITEM DATE>Mon, 24 Mar 1997 4:24:38 PST</CLARI-ITEM></I><P>
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<P> MINSK, Belarus, March 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Embassy in Minsk has
protested the expulsion of an American diplomat from Belarus.</P>
<P> First Secretary Serge Alexandrov was arrested Sunday during an anti-
government demonstration in Minsk and ordered to leave the country.</P>
<P> Ambassador Kenneth Yalovitz, strongly protested the action at the
highest level of the Belarus government. An embassy spokeswoman in the
Belarus capital told United Press International that ``the highest
levels of the State Department in Washington'' had been informed of the
incident.</P>
<P> The diplomat was detained by Belarus police while carrying out normal
diplomatic activities. Alexandrov, who is of Belarussian origin, had
been watching a demonstration which turned violent. More than 70 people
were arrested, including two opposition leaders.</P>
<P> Police used tear gas and clubs to disperse the 10,000-strong crowd.</P>
<P> The embassy has demanded an immediate explanation from the Belarus
authorities for the action which is seen as a violation of the Vienna
convention on diplomatic rights.</P>
<P> National television in the former Soviet republic said in a broadcast
that the U.S. Embassy was trying to ``seriously interfere in Belarus'
internal affairs.'' It also accused Alexandrov of being a CIA agent
working under cover of a diplomatic rank.</P>
<P> An embassy spokeswoman told UPI she did not know what action the
State Department would take but did not rule out a tit-for-tat expulsion
of a Belarus diplomat from Washington.</P>
<P> Relations between the United States and Belarus have deteriorated in
the past few weeks. On Friday, Washington cut off $40 million in aid due
to alleged human rights violations by the Minsk regime.</P>
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