U.S. Assistant Secretary of State: Belarus leadership quite uncomfortable over binary choice

The United States is open for the improvement of relations with Belarus, but do not drop their claims and requirements for the country’s authorities, Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, said on Wednesday during a conversation held at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. The ball is in the Belarusian court now, she stressed.

Valer Kavaleuski, a Belarusian political scientist and former diplomat, asked Victoria Nuland: “Since the beginning of the war for Ukraine there has been considerable change in the rhetoric of the United States with regard to the regime of Lukashenka although there has been no change in the domestic policies of Lukashenka and his dictatorial practices. Can you say anything about U.S. policy changes towards the regime of Lukashenka?’ (see from 47:11)  

“For many years we have had an ongoing dialogue with the government of Belarus regarding our concerns about human rights, about political environment for dissent. It has been interesting, and of course, in the course of the last year you’ve seen what we’ve seen which is that the leadership in Belarus is quite uncomfortable being offered binary choice,” Victoria Nuland said.

She remember seeing the Prime Minister of Belarus in September at the UN General Assembly and telling him that ‘they have done more for their country in having Minsk, the term, the brand ‘Minsk’ be emblematic for a peace deal than we’ve seen for a long time’.

“We remain open to a warmer, more integrated relationship with Belarus as the human rights situation improves. We’ve given some concrete ideas to the government of Belarus. We’ve been able to make some small steps together; now we are issuing visas again there for the first time. But again, it’s in the hands of the leadership whether they want to take their country in a more democratic, open direction. And we’ll be obviously able to respond,” she resumed.


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