Historic Strategic Dialogue Unveils U.S.-Belarus Collaboration
The Department of State has hosted the inaugural Strategic Dialogue between the U.S. Government and Belarusian democratic forces, reinforcing the commitment to a sovereign and democratic Belarus.
Broad Representation for Robust Discussions
Co-chaired by Belarusian democratic leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Christopher W. Smith, the Dialogue brought together diverse representatives, fostering discussions with political leaders, civil society, journalists, human rights defenders, and ordinary Belarusians.
U.S. Actions to Promote Accountability
During the Dialogue, the United States announced its commitment to holding the Lukashenka regime accountable for abuses in Belarus and abroad. Recent sanctions against 11 companies and eight individuals demonstrate this resolve against complicity in the regime’s misdeeds.
USAID Strengthens Belarus Program
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is opening a dedicated office in Vilnius, Lithuania, for its Belarus program, reinforcing a 20-year partnership with the Belarusian people. This underscores continued support for a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Belarus.
Promoting Belarusian Identity
Initiating exchanges and programming, the U.S. aims to safeguard Belarusians’ national and cultural identity, including language, literature, arts, and history, highlighting the importance of preserving the unique heritage of the Belarusian people.
Human Rights Focus
Addressing the human rights catastrophe following the 2020 Belarus presidential election, both sides condemned the regime’s abuses, emphasizing the need for rehabilitation and resocialization support for political prisoners and their families.
Calls for Release of Political Prisoners
The United States staunchly calls for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of nearly 1,500 political prisoners held by the Lukashenka regime, underscoring the commitment to human rights and justice.
Future Economic Development and Sovereignty
Discussions at the Dialogue delved into the future economic development of a democratic Belarus, emphasizing the crucial role of Belarusian diaspora communities and addressing challenges in independent media, disinformation, and propaganda.
Unwavering U.S. Support
The United States remains steadfast in its support for the Belarusian people’s aspirations for a sovereign, democratic future. Acknowledging the courage of Belarusians in pursuit of these goals, the U.S. salutes their unwavering commitment.
The Strategic Dialogue marks a historic milestone in U.S.-Belarus relations, showcasing a collaborative commitment to a democratic Belarus. Initiatives for accountability, cultural exchange, and support for human rights reflect a dedicated effort towards a brighter future.