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Opinions & Interviews

17 Sep 2019

Lukashenko welcomes USA’s interest in region of Eastern Europe

Lukashenko welcomes USA’s interest in region of Eastern Europe

MINSK, 17 September (BelTA) – The interest of the USA in the region of Eastern Europe is good, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale in Minsk on 17 September, BelTA informs.

“It is a pleasure to see you here, not only in Belarus, but also in Eastern Europe. I am pleased to mention the following: it shows that the USA has finally paid attention not only to Europe in general but also to Belarus,” the head of state said.

“In this difficult time your interest in this region is reassuring,” the Belarusian leader added.

“Perhaps, we are in thrall to certain mass media insinuations. But it seems to us in Belarus that Europe and the planet in general are facing difficult times,” the head of state believes.

He remarked that they often blame the USA for it. “However, we understand that it never happens in life that one is always to blame and the rest are pure angels. Probably, all of us are responsible for what is going on in the world,” the president said.

“I am convinced that your visit will give an opportunity at least to the Belarusian government and Belarusian people to take a more objective look at the world on the assumption of the information that I hope to get from a very informed person,” the head of state said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State George Kent visited Minsk in March and July 2019. U.S. President’s National Security Advisor John Bolton traveled to Minsk in August 2019. Security secretaries of Belarus, Poland, the United States and Ukraine met in Warsaw in August on the initiative of the U.S. side.

Minsk and Washington cooperate in various fields of common interest, including security. The sides have resumed dialogue on military matters, in healthcare, agriculture, professional exchange. In March 2019, the U.S. side was informed that Belarus lifted the cap on the number of U. S. Diplomats allowed in the country. There are intergovernmental agreement son economic cooperation, in banking and other areas. In May 2019, memorandums on cooperation were signed between the State Border Committee, the State Customs Committee, the Interior Ministry, the Investigation Committee and the Drug Enforcement Administration under the United States Department of Justice.

Until 2008, the United States was one of Belarus' major economic partners. After a period of decline, the trade with the United States leveled out as of 2011. Washington applies restrictive tariff measures against certain categories of Belarusian exports.

In 2018, the trade reached $711.6 million (up by 17.6% over 2017). Export totaled $274.4 million (up by 21.7%), import came at $437.2 million (up by 15.3%). In 2018 Belarus’ export of services to the United States totaled $712.1 million and was dominated by the Hi-Tech Park services. In January-June 2019, the trade made up $478 million (up by 44.7% as against January-June 2018), export of services reached $438.9 million (up by 39.1%).

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