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Farmer's well causes leak in Belarus border

  • 2002-07-18
  • Agence France-Presse
VILNIUS

Lithuania's failure to foot the $580 bill for a new well has opened up an attractive leak for smugglers in the EU's future eastern border, as a farmer has to hop over to Belarus to draw his drinking water, border guards said on July 15.

"The worn path to the well is attractive to smugglers like honey," a Lithuanian border official told the daily Respublika.

When demarcating Lithuania's southern border with Belarus seven years ago, experts drew the line between Juozas Adomonis' house and his well, forcing the farmer to jump over the trench with bucket in hand about a dozen times a day.

"Nobody questioned me, nobody asked for consent. One day they just said that the border would be here, and it is the border," the newspaper quoted Adomonis as saying.

Border guards have ignored his infractions, which would normally land the farmer a three-year jail term, as promises to drill him a new well or relocate him away from the border have not been fulfilled.

But Adomonis has refused an offer of a free telephone from border guards eager for tips because he is afraid of retribution by smugglers.

The 650-kilometer Lithuania-Belarus border will become the EU's border when Lithuania joins the bloc as soon as in 2004.