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Opinions & Interviews

22 Nov 2019

Belarus MFA: Washington does not try to make Minsk scale back ties with Moscow

Belarus MFA: Washington does not try to make Minsk scale back ties with Moscow

WASHINGTON, 22 November (BelTA-TASS) – The United States of America is not trying to make Belarus scale back cooperation with Russia, Belarusian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko said in an interview with a TASS reporter during his visit to Washington.

Oleg Kravchenko was asked whether Washington is trying to condition Belarus-USA engagement upon some restrictions in cooperation between Minsk and Moscow. “Absolutely not. They have never voiced such a condition, neither before nor now. Nothing like that is happening. I have never encountered it,” he said.

He recalled that John Bolton, who visited Minsk in August 2019 in the capacity of the U.S. President’s National Security Advisor, commented on Belarus-Russia ties in the context of Minsk-Washington relations. According to Oleg Kravchenko, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State George Kent also voiced his stance on this matter at the 21 November conference in Washington to discuss Belarus-USA relations.

“Relations with Russia is Belarus’ business. The Belarus-USA narrative does not contain any calls or expectations regarding Belarus’ cooperation with Russia,” Oleg Kravchenko emphasized.

“They [U.S. officials] keep saying that they will accept any decision, that this decision should be democratic, that this is our business. They say that they are aware of the historical ties between Belarus and Russia and the existing cooperation formats. To be honest, I have never heard any U.S. officials disapproving of our relations. Therefore, I would not say that our cooperation with Russia is part of our talks with the USA,” the diplomat added.

He informed that Belarus and the USA are expanding cooperation in combating terrorism, organized crime and cybercrime.

“This kind of cooperation has always been in place,” he said when asked whether efforts are made to deepen ties between law enforcement and special services of the two countries against the backdrop of rapprochement between Minsk and Washington.

“It is more about law enforcement. It has always been part of our cooperation, which is gaining momentum in a number of areas, such as efforts to combat cybercrime, terrorism and organized  crime,” Oleg Kravchenko noted.

“There are several examples of successful cooperation between our law enforcement agencies in preventing crime against Belarusian and U.S. citizens and nationals of third countries,” the deputy minister of foreign affairs underlined.

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