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Belarus has harsh words for EU

March 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM

MINSK, Belarus, March 5 (UPI) -- Sanctions on the government in Belarus are a reflection of the "absolute hysteria" among European leaders, the Belarusian president said.

London last week announced it summoned the Belarusian envoy in response to a decision from Minsk to recall ambassadors to Poland and the European Union.

Minsk asked the ambassadors of the EU and Poland to leave the country and recalled its envoys for consultations after the EU opted to extend sanctions on the government of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko lobbed insults at European leaders after the decision. In what Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti said was a reference to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, the president said "it's better to be a dictator than gay."

Hundreds of challengers to Lukashenko were rounded up following elections in December 2010. He's been characterized as Europe's last dictator.

A statement late last year from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Europe's top foreign policy official Catherine Ashton noted there were credible reports from Belarus about violent treatment of political prisoners.

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