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Washington not coercing Minsk to limit cooperation with Moscow, says diplomat

Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko said that "there are no calls or expectations from the US side regarding our [Belarusian-Russian] cooperation"

WASHINGTON, November 22. /TASS/. The United States does not try to make Belarus limit its cooperation with Russia, Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko told TASS on Thursday during his visit to Washington.

When asked whether Washington tries to limit cooperation between Minsk and Moscow in exchange for normalization of Belarusian-US relations, Kravchenko said: "Absolutely not. This was never the case — not before, not now. Truly, this is just not the case. I never encountered such a thing."

He reminded that former US National Security Advisor John Bolton talked about Belarusian-Russian cooperation in the context of bilateral relations between Minsk and Washington. "John Bolton talked about this when he visited Minsk. He told the media about this," Kravchenko said. "At the conference today, [US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs] George Kent publicly spoke about this as well," he added.

"The issues of Belarus' relations with Russia is a internal matter of Belarus," Kravchenko said. "Judging from what I see in our discussions with Americans, I can confirm that there are no calls or expectations from the US side regarding our [Belarusian-Russian] cooperation," he added.

"They [US officials] say that they can accept any decision, that this decision should be democratic, and that it should the decision of Belarus. They say that they understand the historical and objective nature of cooperation between Belarus and Russia, of those formats of cooperation that exist," he continued. "To be honest, I never heard US officials condemning our cooperation. That's why I wouldn't say that our cooperation with Russia represents an element in our talks with the US," he noted.