16:25 GMT26 November 2020
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    The two countries have been unable to reach a compromise on the price for deliveries for some time, with Minsk pushing for compensation due to a price hike caused by changes in Russian taxation.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured during a visit to Belarus that the US is capable of fulfilling 100% of Minsk's oil needs if the latter chooses to accept such an option.

    "Our energy producers stand ready to deliver 100% of the oil you need at competitive prices. We’re the biggest energy producer in the world and all you have to do is call us", he said.

    Pompeo claimed that the US wants to help Belarus achieve "sovereignty" and "independence", despite the fact that the country acquired both back in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The secretary of state also assured that the US knows about the country's long-term relationship with Russia, with which it is currently negotiating a new price for oil deliveries, claiming that the United States is in no way trying to force Minsk to choose between Washington and Moscow.

    Russia has long been the primary source of oil for Belarus, but recently the two countries have been unable to negotiate a new price, with Minsk demanding a discount to compensate for a price change that occurred due to a so-called "tax manoeuvre" in its eastern neighbour.

    Oil refinery and the Druzhba oil pipeline
    © Sputnik / Egor Eremov
    Oil refinery and the Druzhba oil pipeline

    The stalemate has led to a suspension of oil deliveries from Russia since 1 January 2020. Crude shipments were partially restored a few days later after Minsk reached an agreement with one Russian oil company. Additionally, Belarus has recently bought small amount of oil from Norway via a maritime route.

    This is not the first time that the two countries have had disagreements on oil prices, but in the past they have always managed to reach a mutually beneficial solution. At the same time, the country's President Alexander Lukashenko has increasingly considered diversifying his country’s oil sources each time the two nations have had a disagreement, including by buying Saudi and American oil.

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    Tags:
    US diplomacy, diplomacy, oil tax, Oil, Russia, Belarus, US
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