Updated at 23:19,25-10-2016

The U.S. Embassy is disappointed by Belarus decision to withdraw support for the HEU exchange project and MBA program

The Embassy is disappointed that the Government of Belarus has opted to withdraw from existing US-Belarus cooperative projects that are to the benefit of Belarus and its citizens.

We hope that Belarus intends to meet its stated objective of the elimination of all of its stocks of highly enriched uranium. This is a responsible contribution to global security.

The MBA Program, which we developed in partnership with the Latvian and Belarusian governments, aimed to give Belarusiansfor the first timethe opportunity in Belarus to earn a Masters Degree in Business Administration from an internationally-accredited program taught in English.

The MBA program would help make private Belarusian companies more globally competitive and the Belarusian work force more attractive to foreign investors. Classes were to begin this fall.

These decisions only disadvantage Belarusian citizens, and further distance Belarus from being a part of the broader European and global community.

U.S. policy remains firm: we call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. On December 1 in Astana, the Government of Belarus acknowledged that enhanced respect for democracy and human rights is essential to the progress of the country and its citizens. To our regret, the situation has deteriorated severely since then. The continuing crackdown and incarceration of political prisoners led the United States to impose additional sanctions this month.