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Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus with regard to the introduction by the US of additional economic restrictions targeting enterprises of the Belneftekhim concern

Over a rather long period of time, the Republic of Belarus has made a number of consistent and constructive steps to normalize relations with the European Union and the United States, pursuant to the agreements with our Western partners.

However, one of the participants of the dialogue, the US, having ignored the prior agreements, breached an agreed scheme of actions to normalize relations and introduced additional economic restrictions targeting enterprises of the Belneftekhim concern.

The Belarusian side declares that Belarus will reciprocate by stepping up tough measures. The American side was previously advised of the nature of those measures. One of those measures will be the recalling of the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the US, Mikhail Khvostov, to Minsk for consultations. At the same time, the Government of the Republic of Belarus insistently suggests that the Ambassador of the United States in Minsk, Karen Stewart, should leave our country to the same end.

The Belarusian side underscores, specifically, that by signing the Helsinki Final Act, the US as well as other OSCE member states has committed itself to “refraining in all circumstances from any act of economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by another participating State of the rights inherent in its sovereignty”. The latest steps of the US Administration towards Belarus are in direct breach of that commitment and in defiance of other OSCE members.

We are forced to state yet another time that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe which we are strongly convinced should be an efficient tool designed to defend the rights and interests of its member states falls short of exercising its immediate mandate in this situation and fails to respond to the gross violation of the fundamental principles of the Organization on the part of the American Administration.

Belarus demands that the OSCE should take immediate action to efficiently ensure the exercise of the fundamental principles of the Organization and its international commitments by this member state.

If it does not happen, we will have to profoundly contemplate the manner in which we should continue to build our relations with this Organization.

The US actions are in gross violation of the 1994 Memorandum, which committed the United States to respect independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus, and, in particular, not to exert any economic pressure on it in exchange for the voluntary renunciation by our country of the possession of nuclear weapons. Belarus urges the UK and the Russian Federation as the guarantors of its accession to the Memorandum to take immediate action to ensure that the Memorandum commitments are met with by all of its members. The Republic of Belarus underlines that United States’ violation of the Memorandum provisions radically undermines US trustworthiness as a partner. Can anyone trust the US after all, all the more so, in such a strategic cause as non-proliferation of nuclear weapons?

The US actions also arouse rightful indignation since they have been carried out notwithstanding the UN General Assembly resolution 62/183, which sets forth that “no state can either exert or encourage unilateral economic, political or any other measures aimed at subordinating another state which exercises its sovereign rights”. Moreover, the UNGA resolution 62/162 “Human rights and unilateral measures of compulsion” “insistently calls upon all states to stop taking or exerting any unilateral measures, in particular, measures of compulsion with all the following exterritorial consequences, which contradict international law and the UN Charter as well as the norms and principles regulating peaceful relations between states”.

The Republic of Belarus will continue to be guided in its activities by the common international principles and its own laws.

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