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Germany Condemns Belarus for Blocking Visas Before Elections

The German Foreign Ministry summoned Belarus’s ambassador to protest the denial of visa applications three days before parliamentary elections.

Limits to press and travel freedom are a “notably negative signal” before the Belarus election, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said in an e-mailed statement today. The former Soviet republic is holding the election on Sept. 23.

“The government has no understanding why election observers -- including a delegate from the German Bundestag -- and journalists were denied visas in connection with the upcoming parliamentary election in Belarus,” the ministry said.

Entry into Belarus by the German lawmaker, regime critic Marieluise Beck, and a Lithuanian legislator were denied as “undesirable,” Belarus Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh told Interfax news agency yesterday. Calls placed to the ministry in Minsk seeking comment were unanswered.

Beck told the Minsk-based Belapan news agency that the denial of her visa is “further proof that the elections are a farce.”

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