MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – Belarusian Deputy Minister Alexander Guryanov met with a US inter-ministerial delegation comprised of representatives from the US Agency for International Development, the US Department of Defense and the Department of State to discuss the possibility of normalization and expansion of the two countries’ relations, the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reported on Tuesday.
"The sides discussed the possibility of normalization and expansion of relations between Belarus and the United States in certain areas of cooperation,” the press service stated.
The participants "exchanged views on the current state and prospects of bilateral relations, discussed the issues on which the parties disagree, voiced their fundamental positions and agreed to continue the dialogue to ensure the further normalization of Belarusian-American relations.”
Tensions between the two countries flared in 2008 when, at the insistence of the Belarusian side, the United States embassy staff in Minsk was reduced from 35 to five diplomats. The move came in response to American sanctions against Belneftekhim, a Belarusian oil and petrochemicals firm.
The American inter-ministerial delegation is scheduled to stay in Belarus until September 11. During the visit, the US delegation is scheduled to hold meetings with the Defense Ministry, the Economy Ministry and the Education Ministry of Belarus.