The Senate of the US Congress unanimously approved Julie Fisher as the United States’ new ambassador to Belarus, the first since 2008, according to a live broadcast of the parliamentary session.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker earlier called for approving Fisher’s candidacy to the post, because Washington needs to maintain contact with Minsk, TASS reports.
In September, the US Senate’s foreign affairs committee recommended approving Fisher’s nomination.
In early May, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to appoint Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Europe and the EU Julie Fisher as an Ambassador to Belarus.
In June 2006, the US introduced economic sanctions against two enterprises of the Belarusian state petrochemical corporation Belneftekhim over reports on alleged encroachments on human rights in Belarus. In 2008, the number of staff members at the US embassy in Minsk was reduced to five from thirty-five at the insistence of the Belarusian side.
After that Belarus called off its ambassador in the US for consultations, while the US ambassador left Minsk, also at the insistence of the Belarusian authorities.
The US-Belarusian relations started to thaw after the 2016 presidential election in Belarus. In 2019, both countries spoke about the possibility of returning ambassadors. On July 20, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko as his country’s ambassador to the United States. However, the process of mending US-Belarusian ties de-facto stopped this year after the August 9 presidential election in Belarus and subsequent unrest in the former Soviet republic.