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Pompeo in Minsk: U.S. can supply Belarus with 100% of oil and gas

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Mike Pompeo and Uladzimir Makei​ / Reuters

“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.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday at a joint news conference with Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei after meeting with President Lukashenka.

Belarusian refineries need 24 million tons of oil annually to work at full technological capacity. In the previous years, Belarus received oil primarily from Russia. However, Russia cut off supplies as of 1 January after the two countries failed to reach an agreement on new terms for 2020.

The only Russian company currently supplying oil to Belarus is Safmar Group owned by Russian entrepreneur Mikhail Gutseriyev who enjoys a friendly relationship with Belarusian President Aliaksandr Lukashenka.

In early January, Lukashenka ordered the government to diversify the oil supplies to Belarus. In late January, the refinery in Navapolack received the first batch of 80 000 tons of Norwegian oil shipped via the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda and by rail.

"We would welcome a more active role of the United States in Belarus. We are interested in having American businesses work here, in the interaction between various state structures. Despite certain disagreements between us, we have a number of sectors where we can cooperate," Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei noted.

Minsk's focus is to develop economic and trade cooperation. Belarus and the United States also plan to develop cooperation to fight against terrorism, illegal drugs and trafficking in people.

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