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Minsk, Washington working to resume normal operation of embassies

Minsk and Washington are working to resume the normal operation of the Belarusian Embassy in the United States and that of the United States in Belarus, said Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei told the newspaper "Washington Post".

The interview was given on May 19 and published on the newspaper's website on May 26. 

Vladimir Makei, Belarus foreign minister:
I will not betray a secret if I say that we have developed the so-called list of small steps together with our colleagues from the Department of State. We have already successfully implemented almost all points in this list and we are now thinking about the next stage so our relations are brought to a new level. I think that gradually we will start to address the issue of their full operation at the ambassadorial level. For this, we need to try a bit harder and restore the level of trust that has to be in the relationship between two countries who want to be equal partners. We are working on it.

Thus Mr Makei could not name a specific time frame.

Vladimir Makei, Belarus foreign minister:
You know, in diplomacy, and especially today, when the situation in our region and in many other regions looks uncertain, I cannot and will not talk about the specific time.  But there are concrete examples of positive decisions on both sides. We are therefore convinced that, sooner or later, this positive momentum will lead to the full normalization of relations between our states. I would not set any deadlines. As history shows, it is always counterproductive.

The number of employees of the US Embassy in Minsk was cut at the insistence of the Belarusian side from 35 people to 5 in March 2008 due to the introduction of US sanctions against the state concern Belneftekhim in connection with alleged human rights violations.

Shortly thereafter, the US Ambassador to Belarus Mikhail Khvostov was recalled from Washington for consultations. Ambassador Karen Stewart also left Minsk urged by the Belarusian side.

In 2014, the Belarusian side allowed to increase the staff of the US embassy from five to six people.

Vladimir Makei, foreign minister of Belarus