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Minsk expels Czech Diplomat over alleged deprivation of minors

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry on 21 January expelled Czech diplomat Pavel Krivohlavy, accusing him of depraving minors and inciting them to "antisocial behavior," Belarusian Television reported. "To put it plainly, Czech diplomat Pavel Krivohlavy made juvenile boys drunk in order to subsequently try dragging them into bed," Belarusian Television commented.

The network's comment linked Krivohlavy's reported behavior in Minsk with the activities of the Czech Foreign Ministry's Department for the Struggle Against Undemocratic and Totalitarian Regimes, which supports the Belarusian democratic opposition. "You'll certainly agree that our neighbors' understanding of democracy is peculiar: intoxication of youths, debauchery, and pornography," Belarusian Television noted. "Do they have the moral right -- they who are spreading the worst, vile predilections in our country -- to teach us how to live?"

...As Prague Retaliates

The Czech Foreign Ministry on 21 January expelled an unnamed Belarusian diplomat from Prague, reacting to the expulsion of Pavel Krivohlavy from Minsk earlier the same day, CTK reported. Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Savinykh commented on the expulsion by saying that the Czech authorities misunderstand the principle of reciprocity, Belapan reported. "Pavel Krivohlavy had to leave Belarus in connection with a properly documented and evidenced violation of law punishable under two articles of the Criminal Code of Belarus," Savinykh added.

Czech-Belarusian relations have deteriorated since the Czech denial of a visa to Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka for a NATO summit in Prague on 21-22 November 2002. The Czech Embassy in Minsk and the Belarusian Embassy in Prague have been headed by charges d'affaires since then, not full-fledged ambassadors.

(RFE/RL 24.i.05)

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