Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Belarus ready to discuss political and economic issues with EU, USA

By Syarhey Karalevich, BelaPAN

Belarus is ready to discuss political and economic issues with the European Union and the United States, Deputy Foreign Minister Alyaksandr Huryanaw told reporters in Minsk on September 17.

Although cooperation between Belarus and Western countries has sometimes been hindered by political issues, progress is now being made in relations with Brussels and Washington, Mr. Huryanaw said.

“A dialogue is the most important thing that allows issues to be resolved and processes to move forward, taking mutual interests into account,” he said. “We’ve repeatedly emphasized that the economy and social economic development in general are the priority for Belarus. That is why exclusive preoccupation with political processes is not in the interests of our country.”

Mr. Huryanaw welcomed what the called the growing realization that Belarus is ready to discuss political issues raised by the West while simultaneously going forward with economic projects of interest to business circles.

Speaking about the situation in Ukraine, Mr. Huryanaw stressed that Belarus was not interested in its deterioration and did not like to be accused of trying to capitalize on it. At the same time, he indicated that businesspeople were increasingly attracted to the Belarusian market as a more stable environment.

On September 9, Mr. Huryanaw met with a US government interagency delegation, which was staying in Belarus on a three-day visit.

Thomas Melia, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, told reporters following the talks that the existence of political prisoners in Belarus remained a barrier to cooperation between Belarus and the United States.

The issue of politically motivated imprisonment was raised during the meeting, he said.

The first-ever Belarusian-American Investment Forum is scheduled to take place in New York on September 22.