Statement by Undersecretary Hale following his meeting with President Lukashenka
September 17, 2019
I am pleased to stand here today with Foreign Minister Makei to recognize our joint efforts to move our bilateral relationship forward. Our meeting today marks an historic juncture in U.S. – Belarus relations. It is my honor to announce that we are prepared to exchange ambassadors as the next step in normalizing our relationship.
The United States remains committed to a sovereign, independent Belarus with a prosperous future for the next generation. The United States also welcomes Belarus’ increased cooperation on issues of non-proliferation, border security, economic cooperation, and information sharing on matters of shared security.
I would like to reiterate that by normalizing our relationship, we are not asking Belarus to choose between East and West. The United States respects Belarus’ desire to chart its own course and to contribute to peace and stability in the region.
There are still aspects of the Belarus Democracy Act with which the Belarusian government needs to contend, and the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections represent an opportunity to address the spirit of the concerns outlined in the Belarus Democracy Act. With such progress, we can discuss further easing of sanctions.
Belarus is a country with a rich culture and vibrant, talented people. We look forward to increased cooperation and dialogue between our countries. Thank you.