At the same time, according to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, the United States and the European Union are not tied to each other in their decisions to impose sanctions against the leadership of Belarus, and can take decisions on these actions independently.
The diplomat stressed that the U.S. dissatisfaction with the actions of Lukashenko’s regime is not directed against the Belarusian people: “We believe that the people of Belarus should have the right to choose their own path, and do so without any external threats or pressure, including from their influential neighbors. The United States supports the people of Belarus and productive dialogue between the regime and the Coordinating Council. We do not ask the people of Belarus to choose between the West and the East. This is not a competition between the United States and Russia”.
The US Deputy Secretary of State called for the immediate release of all political prisoners, as well as illegally detained citizens, including U.S. citizen Vitaly Shklyarov.
Stephen Beegan stressed that Washington was aware of all the drama.
events unfolding in Belarus: “Now there is a battle between the ruler of Belarus and the people he wants to rule. The Belarusian regime does not put the interests of its people first. The illegal conditions it has gained allow it to retain power through corruption, which is obvious to the people of Belarus and the whole world. And now, being clearly and clearly rejected by his people, the ruler of Belarus resorts to violence to keep power in his hands, and increasingly relies on the support of Moscow to maintain
its own mode”.
Asked by the Voice of America Russian Service whether the mutual return of ambassadors between Washington and Minsk would now slow down, the diplomat said:
“We have an excellent presidential nominee for the post of ambassador, Julie Fisher, who is still undergoing internal approval here in the United States. We haven’t stopped this process. We believe it is very important for the U.S. to have our representative in Belarus who would voice U.S. policy and confidently represent the values and interests that we consider important in implementing our policy towards Belarus. I noted with great enthusiasm the presence of several of our partners, ambassadors, who stood shoulder to shoulder with courageous Svetlana Alexievich, a member of the Coordination Council. I expect that the U.S. Ambassador will also stand shoulder to shoulder with his colleagues in support of Belarus and its people”.
Stephen Bigan also said that Russia has a role to play in ensuring that violence against peaceful demonstrators is stopped in Belarus and that the rule of law is respected: “The U.S. hopes that Putin will raise a subject of concern in Washington regarding the wrongful detention of people and the use of violence against civilians and Russian journalists.
A senior diplomat warned that Russia should not
“to support such a regime that resorts to such violence in
against civilians who are just trying to take advantage of
freedom of assembly and freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution”.
Washington, according to Stephen Bigan, expects that the upcoming meeting with Alexander Lukashenko in Russia on September 14 will “raise a subject of concern in Washington regarding the illegal detention of people and the use of violence against civilians and Russian journalists.
According to the diplomat, Russia may lose the sympathy of Belarusian citizens when speaking on Lukashenko’s side: “If the Kremlin continues moving along this path, it runs the risk of finding itself in a situation when the Belarusians who have no claims to Russia now turn their backs on it”.
Stephen Bigan said that some current topics in U.S.-Russian contacts, in particular arms control, do not depend on the U.S. attitude toward the crisis in Belarus or the poisoning of Alexei Navalny: “No one in the U.S. connects the elections and protests in Belarus or the tragic poisoning of Alexei Navalny with our position on further negotiations on strategic offensive arms reduction. Preparations for the new talks continue. And if we successfully conduct them, the result will be a new agreement that meets the interests of the United States and, I am sure, also those of the Russian side.
*** Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) ***