The United States of America has plans to build a new embassy building in Minsk, Belarus Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview with the RBC.
“The U.S. has plans to build a new embassy building in Belarus, they believe the existing one doesn’t meet security standards. The security standards were toughened after the notorious terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya” Vladimir Makei explained.
Recall that the parties agreed on the return of extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors. This will be preceded by a number of internal appointment-related procedures in the two countries.
“Those 11 years since the ambassadors have been withdrawn showed that the situation of countries’ confrontation is absolutely counterproductive, first and foremost, for Belarus. In today’s interconnected world, it is not normal for countries to have inadequate relations. After all, let us be frank, the U.S. is the world’s leader and I believe it will remain so in the nearest decades,” he added.
Besides, the minister noted that Belarus seeks to have a comprehensive political dialogue and build trade and economic ties with the U.S.
“Taking into consideration the previous years that marked the rapprochement in our relations, the bilateral trade in 2018 exceeded $700 million, up 18%,” Makei said.
11 years without ambassadors
The cap on the U.S. diplomats in Minsk dates back to 2008 when Belarus expelled the U.S. ambassador retaliating for the sanctions Washington had imposed for poor human rights record and untransparent elections.
Minsk withdrew its ambassador and staff accordingly. Between 2008 and 2018 the quota was gradually expanded from 5 to 10 diplomats as relations between the USA and Belarus got unfrozen. The embassies in Minsk and Washington are currently headed by charge d’affaires. The normal size of a U.S. embassy in a country like Belarus is about 30 diplomats plus local staff.
In March, MFA head Vladimir Makei officially announced the lifting of restrictions on the number of employees of the U.S. embassy in Minsk. Since then several high-level American diplomats visited Belarus, including the former U.S. President’s National Security Adviser John Bolton US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.