US embassy to expand visa services to Belarusian citizens
The United States embassy in Belarus is expected to expand visaservices for Belarusian citizens when another American diplomat arrives in Minsk, the outgoing US charge d’affaires, Ethan Goldrich, said in an interview with news agency BelaPAN.
‘We have agreed with the government here to add another American diplomat to the embassy,’ Mr Goldrich said. According to him, the new diplomat will deal with consular matters and is expected to arrive in Minsk later this summer.
‘We will be able to process more visa applications,’ he said. Upon arrival of the sixth diplomat, the embassy will announce further details on the categories of visas that can be applied for, he said.
The US diplomatic staff in Minsk had to be reduced from 35 to five in March 2008 by order of the Belarusian government, which retaliated for Washington’s sanctions against Belarus’ state petrochemical conglomerate Belnaftakhim. Minsk recalled its ambassador from Washington ‘for consultations’ in early March and emphatically recommended that US Ambassador Karen Stewart leave Belarus ‘for the same purpose’. United States imposed sanctions against Belnaftakhim in connection with human rights violations in Belarus.