Lukashenka continue blackmailing the US
Representatives of the US Congress visit Belarus as a part of their visit to the Baltic and Balkan states. A meeting between the congressmen and the Belarusian dictator didn’t bring a breakthrough in relations.
The delegation consists of Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Commission Ranking Minority Member Congressman Chris Smith, and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka accepted the delegation in the first half of the day. At the meeting with the congressmen the Belarusian dictator expressed confidence in normalizing the relations with the United States and said he was ready to return to an issue of full restoration of mutual diplomatic presence if the sanctions on Belarus were lifted.
"We are ready to return to a conversation on full restoration of mutual diplomatic presence if the sanctions on our country and their legal basis The Belarus Democracy Act are lifted on a legislative level," Lukashenka said.
"I hope the United States will sooner or later realize that a conversation based on sanctions and force has no prospects," the Belarusian dictator said.
According to him, the sanctions imposed by the US government damaged interests of not so much Belarusian manufacturers as their American partners. "We managed to re-orient our flows of commodities to other sales market in time, but many American businessmen, who had been flourishing due to imports and using Belarusian products in producing, were affected by the repressive bans," the ruler said.
Speaking about the public and political processes in the country, Lukashenka noted: "We are a young state, so there things that go wrong. But let’s be sincere, you always have some things that going wrong." "We don’t have the experience that the states of "old democracies" have. The measures we take to improve public and political processes serve as further strengthening the sovereignty and an independent position of Belarus in the international arena," Lukashenka noted.
The US Congress delegation is also to meet with representatives of the Belarusian civil society today. A press conference following the results of the meeting is planned in the building of the American diplomatic mission.
It should be reminded that a diplomatic conflict between Belarus and the United States started after the US had imposed economic sanctions on the Belarusian regime because it refused to release political prisoners and stop repression against the opposition.
On March 7, after the official site of the US Treasury published explanations to the sanctions imposed against Belneftekhim concern, Belarusian Ambassador to the US Mikhail Khvastou was recalled from Washington. On March 12, US Ambassador Karen Stewart left Belarus on demand of the Belarusian authorities. The US embassy was recommended to cut its staff. 17 American diplomats left Belarus on March 27. On March 31, Belarus decided on further reducing its embassy staff in Washington and offered the US to do the same.
The representatives of the US Congress pay a visit to Belarus as a part of their visit to the Baltic and Balkan states. The objective of the trip is strengthening security, promoting human rights, and international cooperation. The delegation will take part in a session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Vilnius.
A note. The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the US Helsinki Commission) is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.