17 Sep 2019 20:41

Belarusian foreign minister talks of openness, trust at meeting with U.S. undersecretary of state in Minsk

MINSK. Sept 17 (Interfax) - Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey has spoken of the trustworthy atmosphere at talks with the United States' Undersecretary of State David Hale.

"Talks with David Hale were held in an atmosphere of absolute openness and confidence. We discussed a wide range of issues, including the most sensitive ones," Makey was quoted by the BelTA state news agency as telling journalists after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's meeting with Hale on Tuesday.

The talks went on for over an hour, the minister said, noting that Belarus was ready for gradual normalization with the U.S.

"I am grateful to Mr. Hale for the absolutely sincere, frank, and open exchange of views. It seems to us that both sides are interested in further deepening and developing relations. We are grateful to our American friends for this interest. And we are ready further to move gradually towards a deeper cooperation to make this process irreversible," Makey said.

He also stressed the significance of the U.S. official's visit.

"The visit is taking place at a crucial point in the history of Belarusian-American relations. Suffice it to mention that Mr. Hale is visiting, that such a high-ranking State Department official is visiting our country for the first time in 25 years," Makey said.

Belarus and the U.S. should restore ambassadors, he said.

"We have a feeling that the two countries' mutual representation in Washington and Minsk, at the level of Charge D'affaires, is no longer consistent with modern day realities and needs rectification. A higher level of representation would enable [both sides] to realize more effectively the opportunities opening up before our countries," Makey said.