President Alexander Lukashenko met with John Bolton, the aide to President Donald Trump and the most senior U.S. official in years to travel to Belarus. During the meeting on Thursday, 29 August, the head of state expressed his desire to reset ties with Washington.
Belarus is looking to open a “new chapter” in ties with Washington. President Lukashenko has invited John Bolton to discuss Belarusian-American relations in a sincere and friendly manner.
He noted that the sides already have a certain history of rebooting the bilateral relations. The president also described the visit as historical as it would mark a turning point after years of distrust.
“Despite the hype around your visit, there is a lot of positive in it, particularly for Belarus. The positive is that… after the worsening of relations with the U.S. we consistently proposed closing this bad page and turning over a new leaf,” Lukashenko said.
Bolton, in his turn, stressed that “history is moving forward” and “a lot of time has passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the geopolitical situation has changed.”
Very productive couple of days in Ukraine. Tomorrow I’ll head to Moldova and Belarus where I’ll meet with leaders from both nations to discuss regional security matters. Looking forward to strengthening our diplomatic and economic ties.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) August 28, 2019
“There are several issues that are of great interest to the United States: human rights, non-proliferation of weapons. We must be very frank on these issues. I think we will find common ground,” he stressed.
So far, no concrete solutions were taken by the parties since the talks focused on broad topics of politics, economics and security issues in the region and around the world, the American official told media after the two-hour meeting.
Responding to a question about Russia and Belarus’s further integration issue, he said: “The most important thing is what the people of Belarus want and I think they want independence.”
He also noted that the issue of restoring diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Belarus at the ambassadorial level was not discussed. Nonetheless, both sides noted that the talks are an important foundation for future work and relations.
Meanwhile, Moscow regards the planned visit of John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security advisor, to Minsk as an internal affair of Belarus, Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.