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Opposition coalition offers government help in handling Chernobyl aftermath

Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party (UCP), has suggested that opposition forces and the government should form a working group to consider cooperating in the alleviation of the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Mr. Lyabedzka sent a letter containing an opposition coalition's offer of cooperation on the subject to Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorski on March 27. The letter was sent on behalf of the united pro-democratic forces' National Committee, the UCP press office said.

In his letter, the politician described as inefficient the government's work to handle the Chernobyl consequences. "The authorities are not even using the opportunities that they have," he stressed. "In particular, the Belarusian government did not use €1 million provided under the TACIS program for helping Chernobyl-hit areas last year." The money could be used for buying medical equipment and providing treatment to residents of contaminated areas, he added.

The coalition suggests that the government should make use of opportunities offered by civil society. "It has a huge potential," Mr. Lyabedzka said. "More than 400,000 children had recuperative holidays abroad in the past years. This did not cost the Belarusian government a cent. The united pro-democratic forces are ready to use new opportunities in the framework of the European Union's most recent proposals."

The prime minister is required to reply to the letter within 30 days, the UCP press office told BelaPAN.

Mr. Lyabedzka said that the cabinet had failed to respond to the coalition's offer of a joint discussion of the European Union's new strategy toward Belarus unveiled last year.



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