Interview by Ambassador M.Yermalovich to the news agency “BelTA” (20 July 2021)


Belarusian ambassador to UK sees opportunities for dialogue amid sanctions

Even in the current conditions of sanction pressure on Belarus an opportunity remains for starting a constructive dialogue and restoring the previous relations in full. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Maksim Yermolovich made the statement after Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko hosted a government conference on 20 July to discuss modern foreign policy priorities, BelTA has learned.

The ambassador said: “As a diplomat I believe that there are always opportunities for starting a constructive dialogue and restoring relations in full. We aim for it and are trying to get the message across to the UK government in order to preserve or start restoring the relations we had before August 2020 events.”

Maksim Yermolovich stressed that despite the sanctions Belarus remains consistent in its actions and is intent on advancing trade and economic relations with the British private sector. In his words, nearly 200 companies with British capital operate in Belarus. “Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the British market. The companies that have been established with participation of Belarusian manufacturers and Belarusian state-run companies are about to finish their work. Work for the [Belarusian flag carrier] Belavia is no longer available. BNK (UK) Company, which is now on the sanction list, has stopped working. It certainly sends a negative signal to the private sector. We think these decisions damage our relations,” the ambassador stated.

Maksim Yermolovich pointed out that Belarus does not intend to take reciprocal steps against the British businessmen, who “trust in our country, continue working with us, and are dedicated to the mutual relations that have taken years to build”. “But effects of secondary sanctions manifest themselves in relations with our British partners. The situation harms all the citizens of Belarus. It affects the work of enterprises, enables conditions disruptive to the established foreign economic ties, and will have a negative effect on our foreign trade indicators,” the diplomat noted.

Maksim Yermolovich said he had already encountered the pressure of sanctions in his line of work. Sanctions were introduced against the Belarusian financial sector when he was a deputy finance minister. “They didn't produce anything good. From the point of pressure on Belarus they did not produce any consequences, but nevertheless Belarus was forcefully separated from the entire capital market. It was difficult to create infrastructure for this market and work on it afterwards,” the diplomat said. “Political motivation and pressure on the part of certain circles resulted in Belarus' expulsion from this common world market. The situation is being repeated now.”

“Once again they introduce sanctions to restrict Belarus' access to the capital market as a sovereign state, to restrict access to resources of international financial institutions. It certainly harms Belarus' interests. Yet it undermines the common world financial infrastructure. It reduces trust in the institutions we work with,” the ambassador pointed out.

“We have to stop the process of sanction pressure on Belarus and restore trade and business, which is mutually beneficial for countries,” Maksim Yermolovich is convinced.

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