On August 11, the Belarusian authorities withdrew their consent to the appointment of Julie Fisher as US Ambassador and demanded the United States reduce its diplomatic presence in Minsk. Ms Fisher has never been allowed to enter Belarus.
However, on the same day, Ned Price, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, announced at a press briefing that Ambassador Fisher and personnel at the US embassy in Minsk would not stop supporting the democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus. According to him, US diplomats will ‘continue to engage with Belarusians, including leaders of the pro-democracy movement, media professionals, students, and other elements of civil society, wherever they are’.
“It is important to remember in all of this and to acknowledge that Belarusian authorities are responsible for the deterioration in US-Belarus relations through relentless repression against their citizens. And that includes through the intensifying crackdowns that we have seen targeting members of civil society, targeting media, targeting athletes, students, legal professionals, and other citizens. And that’s why in response to these events, the White House and the broader administration announced just this week on August 9th the strongest set of sanctions on the Lukashenka regime to date,” Ned Price said on Wednesday.
The United States will continue to work with ‘allies and partners’ to promote shared interests, he added.
As reported earlier, on the anniversary of the fraudulent Belarusian election of 9 August 2020, the US Department of the Treasury issued its ‘largest round of sanctions to date against Belarusian individuals and entities’, including Belaruskali (producer of potash fertilizers), Belarus’ National Olympic Committee, several businessmen who are believed to be Lukashenka’s bagmen, and others.
US Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher is currently working from Vilnius due to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry’s refusal to grant a visa to her.