Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 18, 2019

Newsline: US prepared to exchange ambassadors with Belarus after years of tensions

The United States is prepared to exchange ambassadors with Belarus, a top-ranking State Department official announced — a significant step in thawing relations between the two countries. “It is my honor to announce that we are prepared to exchange ambassadors as the next step in normalizing our relationship,” Undersecretary for Political Affairs David Hale said in a statement delivered in the capital city of Minsk. The US has not had an ambassador to Belarus since 2008, when the Belarusian government expelled the ambassador and 30 out of 35 US diplomats. (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/17/politics/us-belarus-ambassadors/index.html) Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko — who has been in power for 25 years and is nicknamed “Europe’s last dictator” — and more than a dozen other Belarusian officials were sanctioned by the US in 2006 after a presidential election “that violated international norms and was neither free nor fair,” according to the US State Department. President Donald Trump extended those sanctions in mid-June. In 2015, in exchange for the release of Belarusian political prisoners, the US lifted sanctions on nine state-owned entities.

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Newsline: Polish ambassador urges Poles to ‘seriously consider’ leaving UK

Poland’s ambassador to the UK has urged the hundreds of thousands of Poles living in Britain to “seriously consider” leaving the UK after Brexit. In an open letter to Poles in the UK, Arkady Regocki warned that many of his compatriots had not yet applied for settled status, which grants EU nationals permanent residence. Regocki revealed that an “alarmingly low” number of the more than 800,000 Poles living and working in the UK have so far applied to stay after it leaves the European Union. (https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/18/uk/poland-ambassador-open-letter-to-poles-brexit-gbr-intl/index.html) “To date, around 27% of Poles living in the British Isles have applied for settled status,” he wrote. “This is an alarmingly low level, meaning that thousands of Polish citizens may be exposed to complications.”