US ready to cooperate with Belarus, but after Minsk improves ties

WASHINGTON, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - The Obama administration is open for a dialogue and cooperation with the Belarussian government. Nevertheless, the US government reckons that Minsk should cover a long way for improving bilateral relations between Belarus and the US.

This idea was expressed by US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon, speaking on Wednesday at hearings on the policy of the Obama administration with respect to the OSCE. They were organised by the bipartisan Helsinki commission, operating at the US Congress.

The assistant secretary noted that Washington paid attention to some moves, taken earlier by Belarussian authorities, that promoted definite easing of tension in bilateral relations. However, Gordon described these moves as modest and claimed that they are not sufficient for genuine warming of contacts between Washington and Minsk.

According to the American diplomat, the US waits from Belarus, above all, for further steps to democratise its society. Besides, Washington would like to get a chance to staff fully its embassy in Minsk, Gordon added. In the spring of 2008, Belarus and the US "bandied" several times expulsions of diplomats as a result of rising tension in bilateral relations.



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