The suggestion of the Belarusian side to reduce staff of the US Embassy in Minsk is absolutely motivated, the “parliament” of Belarus thinks.
At the same time the parliament was surprised to learn about US Embassy decision to suspend visa issuing to Belarusian citizens after the recommendation of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reduce the embassy staff.
"The staff of the Belarusian Embassy in Washington does not brief the local opposition or take part in anti-government actions by US citizens whereas they (US embassy officers – Interfax)] exceed the limits of accepted international rules on staying in a country. This means they have too many officials who have nothing to do here,” Mikalai Charhinets, head of the commission for international affairs and national security of the “council of the republic” of the “national assembly,” said to Interfax on Wednesday.
The notice of the US embassy says the US Government is in the process of reviewing the request made by the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the US Embassy in Minsk reduce its staffing. “Therefore, visa processing has been temporarily suspended while our resources are engaged addressing other priorities,” the embassy says.
In this connection M. Charhinets declared: “The fact suspending of visa issuing is connected with other priorities causes nothing but surprise.” “What priorities can be in the country of stay except for establishing and development of relations by means of visa support in travelling of citizens,” the Belarusian “parliament” member said. .
According to him, “these actions are directed to pressuring Belarus and deepening crisis in our relations.” M. Charhinets expressed a hope that “eventually level-headedness will take the upper hand, a calm tone will prevail and a time of negotiations and discussions on problems will come." "One would wish the American side realized this more quickly," Charhinets said.
Recently US Ambassador to Belarus Karen Stewart, who is currently in Washington, said the United States was trying to find out how they (the Belarusian side – Interfax) explain these demands (on reducing embassy staffing – Interfax).” They want equal numbers of diplomats working at the US embassy in Minsk and in the Belarusian embassy in Washington, However, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations does not prescribe such parity, K Stewart said.