The sanctions are back.
For a long time, the story of the arrival of Julie Fisher, who was approved as the US Ambassador at the end of last year, cannot be resolved. What is the reason and what are the prospects for her appearance? About this in the text of Yazep Abzavaty for Our Opinion:
- To begin with, it is worth reminding that there is no Belarusian ambassador in Washington either. Formally, of course, this can be explained by the unexpected death of Aleh Krauchanka, appointed to this post, but there is no doubt that under normal conditions a replacement would have been found long ago. The trick is that the conditions are not quite ordinary, to put it mildly.
Although the United States did not recognize the officially announced results of last year's presidential elections in Belarus, the process of approval of the candidacy of Julie Fisher, proposed by Donald Trump, launched exactly a year ago, was continued and ended in December 24 with her swearing-in.
The other day she said that she was ready to come to Minsk at the beginning of the year, but could not do it due to the lack of a visa. Meanwhile, both at the end of January and in February, the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry Uladzimir Makei expressed the interest of official Minsk in constructive cooperation with the new administration of the White House, including with the participation of the ambassador. The American side also confirmed similar intentions.
Under such conditions, the natural beginning of Fischer's activities was meetings with opponents of the current government in Warsaw and Vilnius, which took place in early February. It is clear that they would have taken place in any case, but in the normal course of events, probably after visiting the host country.
It is known that during these negotiations Julie Fisher expresses a negative assessment given by her government to the state of affairs in Belarus, and such an assessment does not cause deep satisfaction in the Belarusian leadership.
However, at first, his comments on this matter were rather restrained. In particular, Makei suggested that the ambassador not be limited to one-sided information, but also receive official comments. But, perhaps, recent events prompted the Belarusian authorities to tighten their approach. In any case, the very next day after the ambassador's information about the visa, Uladzimir Makei announced his readiness to accept it only if she clearly defined her status.
According to him, “if she is going to come and make statements about the illegitimacy of the regime, then what is the point in doing so? I think that, in this case, she will sit in the embassy and do nothing and will not be able to work effectively, including establishing direct contacts between the structures of Belarus and the United States.”
One cannot but agree with this opinion. Without special order, Belarusian officials will avoid even being in the same room with the American ambassador.
In addition, we recall that the long-term absence of the heads of missions was caused by the US sanctions against Belneftekhim. Now sanctions are returning, so the ambassador's stay may be fleeting.
Finally, if the Belarusian leadership considers that its accusations against Washington about its involvement in the preparation of a potential terrorist attack are justified, then it may generally be about the severance of diplomatic relations...
The totality of all these circumstances prompts the conclusion that in the current situation a full-fledged American diplomatic mission in Belarus is unlikely to appear.