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Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 02:58 GMT 03:58 UK
Belarus accuses Washington of pressurising voters

The Belarus government has accused the United States of putting pressure on voters ahead of the country's legislative elections due to take place in a weeks' time.

The statement by the Belarus foreign ministry came after Washington said it would not recognise the election results because the authorities had not fulfilled the conditions needed to guarantee free elections.

A State Department spokesman, Philip Reeker, said the United States would also oppose international monitors going to the former Soviet republic.

Last week an opposition rally in the capital Minsk called for a boycott of the elections.

The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has vowed the polls will be democratic and predicted the boycott would fail.

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