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Russia wants to outline ‘red lines’ for Belarus in dialogue with the US, says expert

According to Chairman of the Board of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s Foundation Andrei Bystritsky, Washington has been maneuvering in relations with Minsk in the past few months

MOSCOW, September 4. /TASS/. At talks of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, the Russian side must have outlined the ‘red lines’ regarding the developments in Belarus in the issue of the extent of foreign meddling in the Belarusian affairs, Chairman of the Board of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s Foundation Andrei Bystritsky told TASS on Thursday.

"This is the main principle of the Russian diplomacy regarding Belarus - to draw certain boundaries and say "Let us not cross this, this is the border’," he said. "We are setting a perimeter for the development of the situation in Belarus. And it seems to me that this was the main goal of negotiations between Lavrov and Biegun, "Bystritsky said.

"Relatively speaking, if the United States has a certain view on Belarusian democracy, some ideas about this, great, but let us not interfere with what is called the political process in Belarus. It is impossible to fully protect it against external influences, but certain boundaries can be drawn," he stressed.

"This is the goal of yesterday’s speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after a meeting with Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei - to determine the boundaries that nobody should overstep in order not to worsen the situation," the expert went on to say.

"It is already developing not very well. After all, Belarus can be not only a reason for disputes, but also a reason for consent, as strange as it may seem. A reasonably organized political process, transformation of the society in Belarus - this would be a good example for everyone," he explained.

According to the analyst, Washington has been maneuvering in relations with Minsk in the past few months, and now it is trying to react in a certain way to the situation in the republic, using the standoff between the authorities and the opposition.

He also drew attention to the fact that no concrete stance of the US on the developments in Belarus was voiced in Biegun’s statements after talks with Russian diplomats (he also held talks with the deputies to the foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov and Igor Morgulov). According to the analyst, this could mean that the Trump administration chose the delaying tactics that wouldn’t help settle the situation, but would make it possible to avoid the worsening.

Presumption of guilt

Bystritsky reiterated that at talks of high-ranking Russian and US diplomats, the alleged poisoning of Alexey Navalny had been mentioned. He stated that irrespective of how the situation would develop around the Navalny case and the political standoff in Belarus, no cooperation between Russia and Western countries should be expected. According to him, in both cases, accusations the West hurls at Russia demonstrate the established in the Western society pattern of the assumed presumption of Moscow’s guilt.

However, many politicians in the West don’t want the worsening of relations with Russia, but they cannot turn the tide. "Russia is used as an instrument of domestic political fight in the US. But this instrument has long gone out of control and they are unable to cope with it," the expert added. "A huge number of logical inconsistencies catch the eye, including in this story of an alleged poisoning of politician Alexey Navalny. Here, it would be necessary to sit down and figure the things out logically. Regretfully, this does not happen," he said.

According to the expert, in order to avoid an escalation of tensions in relations of Russia and the West over Navalny, Germany must react to the request from the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office. Besides, an international commission of medics should be set up, he added.