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31 October 2018, 11:29

Hope for better Belarus-U.S. relations

MINSK, 31 October (BelTA) – I hope the relations between Belarus and the United States will gradually improve, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Aaron Wess Mitchell on 31 October, BelTA has learned.

“The fact that you are visiting the Belarusian capital speaks volumes. I hope it will be a truly historic visit that will give an impetus to the gradual improvement of the Belarusian-U.S. relations,” the Belarusian leader said.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that the two countries have made serious progress in bilateral relations. “I would not, however, call them cardinal changes that are needed in the region today,” the head of state said.

The president emphasized commitment to the sovereignty and independence of Belarus and noted the country's readiness to develop relations with partners from different regions of the world. “This is the policy we pursue. The sovereign and independent Belarus develops relations wither with the European Union, the People's Republic of China, the United States or Russia. We want to be sovereign and independent. In this regard we stay equally close to all centers of power on our planet. Even in the most difficult times in our relations I have never stopped saying that we are extremely interested in good relations with your country,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

"We want to be open to the world, pursue an open policy, and be predictable. We have never violated these principles. That is why many countries treat us with respect. Probably, the United States has also seen the sincerity of our policy. If we make advances in our relations, I promise you that Belarusians will be the most reliable, honest and sincere partners of yours,” the head of state said.

The president highlighted Aaron Wess Mitchell's experience and knowledge of the problems in the region. “We know your attitude and the attitude of your country to these problems. I hope you, as the world's leading country, will pay more attention to solving these matters. If necessary, we are ready to assist in solving the most difficult problems in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe,” said the Belarusian leader.

For his part, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Aaron Wess Mitchell thanked for the hospitality and stressed the importance that the U.S. attaches to the issue of independence and territorial integrity of Belarus. “We understand the deep and historically close relations between your country and the Russian Federation. We also understand the successes you have achieved in ensuring stability and territorial integrity, and, first of all, political stability in Belarus,” he said.

Aaron Wess Mitchell assured that the United States sees great potential in the development of both diplomatic and economic ties with Belarus.

Belarus and the United States cooperate in the areas of mutual interest and on matters important for the global and regional security, including the fight against international organized crime and international terrorism, prevention of illegal transit of nuclear and radioactive materials.

The United States supports Belarus' WTO accession process. The two countries have intergovernmental agreements on economic cooperation, promotion of banking activities, reduction of strategic weapons and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and in other areas.

In 2017, Belarus' major exports to the United States included potash fertilizers, seamless pipes and profiles from ferrous metals, X-ray equipment, furniture, hot-rolled rods, wire from unalloyed steel, liquid crystal devices, lasers, linen fabrics, and fiberglass. Belarus' imports comprised passenger cars, medical devices and equipment, vaccines and medicines, internal combustion engines, frozen fish, electrical generating sets.

In 2017 Belarus' export of services to the United States reached a record high of almost $570 million. The export was largely represented by computer, telecommunication and information services.

In 2017 the United States invested a total of $66.7 million in Belarus, including $55.1 million in FDI.

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