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18 Oct 2016

U.S. Department of State expects relations with Belarus to further improve

MINSK, 18 October (BelTA) – The U.S. Department of State expects relations with Belarus to improve further, BelTA learned from U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Bridget Brink on 18 October.

“My colleagues and I hope that the improvement of relations witnessed in the last 13-14 months will continue. There are many aspects in the bilateral relations that seem very important. Of them we will always consider human rights and democracy to be the key ones,” said the official.

According to Bridget Brink, the USA expects relations with Belarus to get back to normal. “Including the exchange of ambassadors. But it is a gradual process,” she said. “The sides share the view regarding the need to normalize and improve relations between the countries.”

Bridget Brink remarked that while in Belarus she had had a number of constructive meetings, including with Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei, representatives of the civil society, and political parties. “We discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations,” she said.

Asked whether the development of Belarus-USA trade and economic relations was discussed during the meeting in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bridget Brink said that these matters had been a large part of the discussion. “The matter was also discussed before, not only during the current visit. We discussed how we can expand our trade and economic cooperation. Washington shares the understanding and importance of this matter. The work will continue, including with assistance of the economic counselor to be appointed to the embassy,” she said.

The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State also said that the suspension of sanctions against a number of Belarusian companies will be extended by another six months after 31 October.

Speaking about the latest parliamentary election campaign in Belarus, the official said that the USA had welcomed the peaceful nature of the elections and had noted certain progress. Yet she remarked it is important to put to practice the OSCE recommendations concerning the improvement of the election process.

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