U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo arrived in Minsk on Saturday, 1 February to meet with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
He was greeted near the Palace of Independence by Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei. Shortly afterwards, the American official met the country’s leader.
Normalization of relations
Belarus has high hopes on a further normalization of relations with the U.S., Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said. The minister believes that Belarus and the U.S. may counter many challenges and threats together: terrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking.
He also welcomed the intensifying interaction between the countries, as well as the return of ambassadors to the capitals of the two countries after a 12-year break. “We would welcome a more active role of the U.S. in Belarus, taking into account the significance and the role the U.S. is playing on the world arena,” Vladimir Makei said.
Democracy and sanctions
Human right and democracy level were among other issues discussed during the joint briefing with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo after the meeting with the president. “Belarus might not be a perfect country in this respect. We do understand that we should undertake reforms in some areas,” Makei said.
“We are working on it. In line with the recommendations of the United Nations, we have developed the national plan on human rights, and we are implementing it quite successfully together with the non-governmental organizations,” he added.
Belarus’ progress in human rights, press freedom and strengthening the role of civil society is the only way towards the total lifting of sanctions. Such a position of the U.S. was voiced by Pompeo.
“We have been unambiguous about the things that have to happen in order to see that kind of sanctions relief. We are not there yet, but we are very hopeful that moments like we are in right now, days like today, bring us closer to that.”
The United States is ready to provide Belarus with 100% of oil at competitive prices.
The U.S. wants to help Belarus build its own sovereign country.
Our energy producers are ready to deliver 100% of the oil you need at competitive prices. We are the biggest energy producer in the world and all you have to do is call us,” Michael Pompeo said.
After two-hour talks with the president, Michael Pompeo visited Belarus’ Hi-Tech Park and was impressed with what he saw there. This is how he described his emotions after the visit on Twitter.
Inspired by what I saw at Hi-Tech Park #Belarus. A great example of how Belarus can seize its extraordinary growth potential by embracing forward-looking economic policies and smart regulation. It’s clear how impactful American investment can foster prosperity across the globe. pic.twitter.com/5HfEJH82IT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 1, 2020
Director of the HTP Administration Vsevolod Yanchevsky introduced Pompeo to EPAM, Flo Health, Mapbox and Saygames. He was also shown 3D holograms by Kino-mo Technologies and Belarusian augmented reality glasses by Izovak.