On 4 March, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei met with Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent to discuss U.S.-Belarus relations and their further development.
During the meeting, the Belarusian side officially informed the U.S. about the lifting of the restrictions on the number of employees in the US embassy in Minsk.
Намеснік памочніка дзяржсакратара Джордж Кент сустрэўся з Міністрам замежных спраў Уладзімірам Макеем, каб абмеркаваць двухбаковыя адносіны ЗША і Беларусі, а таксама перспектывы іх развіцця ў далейшым. @BelarusMFA @BelarusMID pic.twitter.com/a99dzi7hZK
— U.S. Embassy Minsk (@USEmbBy) March 4, 2019
Earlier, Belarusian MFA has confirmed they had a number of calls with Washington. Improving relations, including the extension of diplomatic presence, was discussed. Recall that the last U.S. ambassador posted to Minsk along with other diplomats was ejected in 2008.
This was after the US imposed additional sanctions on Belarus, citing the country’s poor human rights situation and untransparent elections.
Since then Belarus has limited the number of officials serving in the embassy to five, and later 10, normally it is about 30 diplomats plus local staff. At present, the embassies in Minsk and Washington are headed by charge d’affaires.
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This is the second visit of a representative of the US State Department to Minsk. Last October, President Alexander Lukashenko met with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Aaron Wess Mitchell.
Then, Mitchell described Belarus as “a part of the bastion that safeguards from Russian neo-imperialism.” The head of state, in his turn, declared that Belarus can become “the most reliable, honest and sincere partner for the United States.”