High-level contacts between Belarus and the West have increased in number
Belarus continued to increase the number of contacts and extend areas of cooperation with Western states hoping that at some point the quantity would grow into quality and lead to a full-fledged normalization.
On March 4th, 2019, an American delegation headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent visited Minsk. During the meeting, Belarus informed about the lifting of restrictions on the number of US Embassy staff in Minsk and expressed hope that such a step would further improve relations. In late January, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko met with Kent during his visit to Washington. Apparently, after Wess Mitchel’s departure, George Kent will oversee the European and Eurasian direction in the State Department for some time, and therefore establishing contacts with him is of great importance for Belarusian diplomacy.
On March 5th, 2019, Deputy Economy Minister Dmitry Yaroshevich met with the head of the department for cooperation with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Eastern Partnership countries of the Directorate of the European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, Vassilis Maragos. During the meeting, possible cooperation between the European Union and Belarus in 2019 was discussed. The parties also talked about EU plans to promote regional development in Belarus.
In addition, last week, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry held two meetings with Romanian Ambassador, who currently represents chairmanship of the EU Council. Such a frequency in meetings is atypical and may indicate talks about important events and/or Belarus-EU high-level visits.
Hence, Belarus-West relations developed in line with the recent trend, aimed at strengthening communication among Minsk, the United States and EU member states with the final goal to reach a full-fledged normalization of relations.