Russia: Lavrov meets with US Deputy State Sec Bigan amid tensions in Belarus *STILLS*
US Under Secretary of State urged Moscow to influence Alexander Lukashenko to end violence against peaceful protests
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Bigan, who oversees Washington’s strategy towards Belarus, said on Friday during a telephone briefing for journalists that new sanctions are being developed against the leadership in Minsk in connection with violent actions against participants in peaceful protests..
“I expect that in the coming days we will be able to finally determine an additional list of sanctions that we will introduce in parallel with those adopted by the European Union,” Stephen Bigan told reporters.
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Department of State: US to decide on sanctions for violence in Belarus
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At the same time, according to the US Undersecretary of State, the United States and the European Union are not tied to each other in their decisions to impose sanctions against the leadership of Belarus, and can make decisions about these actions independently of each other..
The diplomat stressed that the US dissatisfaction with the actions of the Lukashenka regime is not directed against the Belarusian people: “We believe that the people of Belarus should have the right to choose their own path and do it without any external threats or pressure, including from their influential neighbors. The United States supports the people of Belarus and a productive dialogue between the regime and the Coordination Council. We are not asking the people of Belarus to make a choice between the West and the East. This is not a competition between the US and Russia. “.
US Undersecretary of State called for the immediate release of all political prisoners, as well as illegally detained citizens, including US citizen Vitaly Shklyarov.
Stephen Bigan emphasized that Washington is aware of all the drama
unfolding events in Belarus: “Now there is a battle between the ruler of Belarus and the people he wants to rule. The Belarusian regime does not prioritize the interests of its people. The illegal fortunes made by him allow him to hold on to power with the help of corruption, which is obvious to the inhabitants of Belarus and the whole world. And now, clearly and clearly rejected by his people, the ruler of Belarus resorts to violence to keep power in his hands, and increasingly relies on Moscow’s support to keep
your regime “.
Answering a question from the Russian service of the Voice of America whether the procedure for the mutual return of ambassadors between Washington and Minsk will now be slowed down, the diplomat said:
“We have an excellent candidate for the post of ambassador, proposed by the president, Julie Fisher, who is still undergoing internal approval here in the United States. We have not stopped this process. We believe it is very important for the United States to have our representative in Belarus, who would voice the policy of the United States and confidently represent the values and interests that we consider important in the implementation of our policy towards Belarus. I noted with great enthusiasm the presence of several of our partners, ambassadors, who stood shoulder to shoulder with the brave Svetlana Aleksievich, a member of the Coordination Council. I expect that the US Ambassador will also stand shoulder to shoulder with his colleagues in support of Belarus and its people ”.
Stephen Bigan also said that Russia must play its role in ensuring that violence against peaceful demonstrators is stopped in Belarus and the principle of the rule of law is respected: “The United States hopes that Putin will raise the issue that is worried in Washington about the illegal detention of people and the use of violence against civilians and Russian journalists “.
A senior diplomat warned that Russia should not
“To support a regime like this that resorts to such violence in
attitude of civilians who are only trying to take advantage of
freedom of assembly and freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution “.
Washington, according to Stephen Bigan, expects that at the upcoming meeting with Alexander Lukashenko on September 14 in Russia “will raise the topic, which is concerned in Washington, regarding the illegal detention of people and the use of violence against civilians and Russian journalists.”.
According to the diplomat, Russia may lose the sympathy of the citizens of Belarus, acting on the side of Lukashenka: “If the Kremlin continues to move along this path, it risks being in a situation where Belarusians, who now have no claims to Russia, will turn their backs on it.”.
Stephen Bigan said that some current topics in US-Russian contacts, in particular, the topic of arms control, do not depend on the US attitude to the crisis in Belarus or the poisoning of Alexei Navalny: “No one in the US links elections and protests in Belarus or the tragic poisoning Alexei Navalny with our position on further negotiations on the reduction of strategic offensive arms. Preparations for new negotiations continue. And if we successfully carry them out, the result will be a new agreement that meets the interests of the United States and, I am sure, of the Russian side as well. “.
Reporter for the Russian Voice of America Service in Moscow. Collaborates with Voice of America since 2012. For a long time he worked as a correspondent and host of programs for the BBC Russian Service and Radio Liberty. Specialization – international relations, politics and legislation, human rights.
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