US Embassy in Minsk to expand visa services for Belarusians

U.S. Chargé d'Affaires ad interim in Belarus Ethan Goldrich who is about to finish his work in Belarus told BelaPAN about it in an exclusive interview.

The Embassy staff will increase from 5 to 6 people, he noted. The new diplomat will be in charge of consular functions. The Belarusian government was cooperative and the new diplomat will arrive in Minsk this summer, Goldrich said.

 "We will be able to accept more applications for visas. The details concerning the category of such applications will be reported when the sixth diplomat arrives,” Goldrich added.

The number of diplomats in the American Embassy to Minsk was reduced from 35 to 5 following Belarus’ demand in March 2008. It happened after the USA had imposed sanctions on the state concern Belneftekhim. Belarusian Ambassador to the USA Mihail Hvastou was recalled from Washington for consultations and American Ambassador Karen Stewart left Minsk on Belarus’ demand. Washington imposed sanctions on Belneftekhim in connection with human rights violations in Belarus.