Foreign Minister Ivan Antonovich of Belarus responded in writing to questions submitted by special correspondent Yuri Karash.
Question: The U.S. government decided to reduce political contacts with Belarus to a minimum, to stop aid and to discourage foreign investors from taking risks in Belarus. Will Belarus reciprocate? If yes, how?
Answer: Belarus regrets this decision of the United States. Belarus considers that these steps have been taken without full information as to the real situation in Belarus. So far, the difficulties with market economic reforms and the democratic evolution of the country have never trespassed on international practices, have avoided violent confrontations, and the actions . . . have been strictly in line with the constitution.
Efforts have been undertaken in the constitution to delineate more specifically and concretely the prerogatives of the legislative and executive powers. There is no issue now in undertaking any actions as by way of response to this stand of the United States of America.
Belarus intends to undertake a fruitful dialogue in which the present position and policies of Belarus will be fully explained to the United States and an understanding will be sought to eliminate these sanctions and actions. Belarus considers as an important priority friendly relations with the United States.
Q: The U.S. government declared its intentions to intensify direct contacts with the opposition to the present Belarus government. What is the attitude [of] Belarus to this decision? Can such plans of [the] U.S. government have an impact on the internal political situation in the republic? If yes, how?
A: The declaration of the United States of its intention to develop direct contacts with the opposition to those in power now in Belarus is an unusual declaration.
No steps have ever been undertaken to limit the United States Embassy's contacts with the opposition. …