Source Pravda.Ru

Belarus Ambassador Says He Didn't Ask US For Political Asylum

All information reported from Japan concerning former Belarus Ambassador to Japan, Pyotr Kravchenko, is still extremely contradictory.

A source in the Belarussian Foreign Ministry informs, Kravchenko didn’t officially report about his intention to get back to Belarus. The Foreign Ministry supposes that if the former ambassador to Japan gets back to Belarus, he is likely to be dismissed from the Foreign Ministry system.

Earlier, Pyotr Kravchenko himself declared that all information saying that he had asked for a political asylum in the USA was a political provocation. Representatives of Washington didn’t confirm the information either. Besides, an ITAR-TASS correspondent reports, Kravchenko told him about the intention to get back to Belarus at beginning of December already.

Today the former Belarus ambassador declared he started turning his duties over as he planned to leave the diplomatic office. In presence of Russian journalists, Pyotr Kravchenko signed an order from the Belarus Foreign Ministry on relieving him of the ambassador post in accordance with the instruction signed by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

Besides, Pyotr Kravchenko showed journalists a medical certificate proving his pre-infarct condition and the recommendation not to make long flights. ITAR-TASS informs that lately Kravchenko conflicted with the subordinates. The former Belarus ambassador even had to punish two diplomats for several gross violations.

At the same time, the Belarus Embassy in Tokyo informed that the third secretary of the Belarus diplomatic mission met with Pyotr Kravchenko in the latter’s apartment. After that press-secretary of the Belarus Foreign Ministry Pavel Latushko announced that Kravchenko still refused to turn his duties over and to get back to Belarus, Belta news agency informs.

In connection with the increasing diplomatic scandal, Acting Plenipotentiary for Belarus affairs in Japan, Anatoly Stepus, had to visit the Japan Foreign Ministry today and give more explanation concerning the situation. A spokesman for the Belarus Foreign Ministry reported today early that the explanation would say that Pyotr Kravchenko was dismissed from the post of diplomat; that he must turn is duties over and get back to Minsk. It would be specially stressed that the former Belarus ambassador got no more other instructions from the Belarus Foreign Ministry.

The Belta news agency informs, the Belarus Foreign Ministry doesn’t confirm or deny the information saying that the former Belarus ambassador to Japan could be on the territory of the US diplomatic mission in Tokyo. This information is being currently verified. As it was reported earlier, several witnesses said they had seen Pyotr Kravchenko was delivered to the territory of the US diplomatic mission in Tokyo. After that any attempts to establish contacts with him failed. The Belarus diplomat held finance of the Belarus Embassy, official documents and the stamp of the diplomatic mission. Later, Belarus Foreign Ministry confirmed that after the dismissal Kravchenko refused to get back to Belarus.

Pyotr Kravchenko is rather popular in Belarus. He held the post of foreign minister before Alexander Lukashenko came to power. In 1998 the Belarus president appointed Kravchenko the ambassador of Belarus to Japan. The ex-foreign minister always referred himself to Alenxader Lukashenko’s opposition.

According to GaZeTa, attitude of the Belarus opposition to Pyotr Kravchenko is currently strictly negative. For instance, one of the prominent Belarus opposition members, former deputy foreign minister Andrey Sannikov says that “Kravchenko joined Lukashenko at a crucial moment, which certainly brings negative consequences for the opposition.”

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/73/209/3801_Kravchenko.html

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