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29 August 2019, 15:02

Lukashenko invites Bolton to sincerely discuss Belarus-USA relations

MINSK, 29 August (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has invited the U.S. President's National Security Advisor John Bolton to discuss Belarusian-American relations in a sincere and friendly manner, BelTA has learned.

The head of state stressed that the sides already have a certain history of rebooting the bilateral relations.

“I'd suggest discussing all the matters of our relations sincerely, even like friends. They may be unpleasant for Belarus but you should mention them. I will also sincerely and honestly outline the matters I find appropriate mentioning to you for the sake of our future cooperation, including matters, which may not be very pleasant for the USA. It will allow us to create the base relations that we will need in the future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“Despite the hype surrounding your trip there is a lot of positive in it, particularly for Belarus. The positive thing is – and nobody can reproach us for it and you probably know it – that since our relations with the USA worsened, we've been suggesting turning this bad page and starting our relations anew,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

The head of state noted that John Bolton's visit to Belarus is a historical one: “It's been a long time since such noticeable high-ranking figures [from the USA] came to Belarus. It makes the visit historical among other things.”

Apart from that, many experts and specialists from the USA have been to Belarus prior to the current visit. “I've met with them personally and talked about various aspects of our relations. It testifies to the fact that we have a certain history of rebooting the relations,” the Belarusian leader noted.

Minsk and Washington cooperate in areas of converging interests and in matters of security. The dialogue has been resumed on military affairs, healthcare, agriculture, and professional exchanges. In March 2019 the American side was informed that restrictions on the number of staff of the U.S. embassy had been lifted.

Intergovernmental agreements are in effect in the area of economic cooperation, assistance with banking business, and other spheres. In May 2019 memorandums of cooperation were signed between the State Border Committee of Belarus, the State Customs Committee, the Internal Affairs Ministry, the Investigative Committee, and the Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The United States was one of Belarus' main economic partners till 2008. Belarus-USA trade has been stabilized since 2011 after a period of recession. Washington uses restrictive tariffs on some categories of Belarusian export.

In 2018 Belarus-USA trade totaled $711.6 million (117.6% as against 2017), with export at $274.4 million (121.7%) and import at $437.2 million (115.3%). In 2018 Belarus exported $712.1 million worth of services to the USA, primarily products by resident companies of the Hi-Tech Park. In January-June 2019 trade amounted to $478 million (144.7% as against H1 2018), with export of services at $438.9 million (139.1%).

In 2018 investments from the USA amounted to $71.8 million, including $54.5 million in direct investments.

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