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2008 Press Releases

Embassy Minsk Staff Reduction

24 March 2008

Statement by State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack 

Washington, DC

The United States will with great regret reduce the number of American staff at our embassy in Minsk by almost half, at the insistence of the Government of Belarus.  Visa processing in Belarus is temporarily suspended.  We continue to provide all American citizen services in Belarus.

We also regret the closure of several of our American Corners by the regime in Minsk.  These resource facilities in local libraries provide access to current and reliable information about the U.S. via book collections and the internet.  The United States values greatly people-to-people contacts between Americans and Belarusians and we continue to welcome Belarusian visitors to the United States. 

The unfortunate actions by the Belarus authorities demonstrate that Belarus has taken a path of confrontation and isolation rather than a path of engagement and democratic reform. We would like a different relationship with Belarus, but that can only happen when the Government of Belarus shows commitment to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.