M.Skenlan: Progress in Human Rights is softening sanctions

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SAT: Do you think it is still an urgent task — to defend its independence and sovereignty, or in today's world where there is Internet, the huge multinational corporations, where states are united in international organizations and create supra-national bodies, it is already outdated values?

Thrive is a country where people are free to realize their potential and aspirations.

Scanlan: I'm sure it's enduring values. The United States is too dependent on other states. The question is how the country can best protect their independence and sovereignty in the context of globalization. Country or accept common rules and standards, or is a kind of island.

The main thing — it is an effective use of its own resources. And the most valuable resource of any country is its citizens. Thrive is a country where people are free to realize their potential and aspirations. For this purpose, in particular, is very important unhindered access to information.

The various areas of developed norms and standards that allow you to create the most favorable environment for the development of human potential. If we talk about the economy, then this on a global scale by the World Trade Organization.

Belarus is in that part of the world, which is the flagship of the movement for uniform high standards and guidelines. In Europe — and under it, I mean the space from Vladivostok to Lisbon — the creation of a common framework of development in the field of law and democracy deals with the Council of Europe. A criteria of Education sets the so-called Bologna process. I will refer to the words of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Martynov, who in the spring of this year, said that Belarus does not want to be any part of Russia, nor part of the European Union, she just wants to be part of Europe. A positive step was the recent decision of Belarus to join the Bologna Process. The logical extension of this line would join the Council of Europe. Belarus is the only country in Europe which is not a member of this organization. Of course, every state has the right to choose to enter somewhere or not. With the adoption of such solutions emerge advantages, but at the same time acquired a certain responsibility …

SAT: You keep talking about the issue of upholding the independence of the value as a kind of dilemma. Meanwhile in Belarus, especially in recent times, it's a practical problem. For example, many of today care about dependence on a single energy supplier. I know that the United States is quite successfully solve the issue. We've heard about American achievements in the field of shale gas, you buy oil in various parts of the world. How do you assess the success of Minsk in this area?

Scanlan: Again I repeat that this is a choice that makes Belarus itself. Energy independence — is a question that faces every country. Our expertise lies in the fact that the energy sector should be clear that this market should be competition, that services should be market-driven, which will lead to the efficient use of resources. Energy efficiency can not be achieved only by means of administrative decision-making, it is necessary to involve the private sector. The government must create an environment with equal conditions for all, including for private companies — both local and foreign. On the part of your government, I do not see this approach.

SAT: When I was a year and a half ago interviewed Mr. Moore, your predecessor as chargé d'affaires, we talked a lot about the hopes that are associated with the arrival of the White House, Barack Obama. As a journalist who writes on the topics of international life, I can say that U.S. foreign policy is really seriously changed. However, the Belarusian-American relations, seems to have remained at the same level with the previous approaches. Washington is interested in the progress in this direction, or the development of relations with Minsk now is an important task?

U.S. wants to improve relations with Belarus, but it suggests progress in the field of human rights and democracy.

Scanlan: In August last year, visited Minsk Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon. This visit at the highest level in the last ten years. I think that in itself is a confirmation of interest from the United States.

Message from the representative of the State Department was that the United States wants to improve relations with Belarus, but it involves the movement forward in the field of human rights and democracy. We directly link the issue with the issue of economic sanctions. It's a simple mathematical equation: progress in Belarus in this area will mean easing of sanctions and vice versa. It is simple and clear signs of our policy towards Belarus.

In late 2008 and early 2009, the Belarusian authorities have made some modest steps to check the spread of non-governmental organizations and independent media. Unfortunately, there has been no change Article 193 of the Criminal Code, the responsibility for acting on behalf of an unregistered organization. Since then the situation has not improved.

The visit of Mr. Gordon was a kind of appeal to think together about what to do next. We believe that there are many opportunities for constructive relations between our countries, and have made proposals to Minsk — joint efforts to combat cross-border crime, visits by military delegations, educational and cultural contacts. Reaction from the Belarusian side has not yet been received.

And the last. U.S. and EU policy towards Belarus is based on the same principles and values. Same mechanisms of decision-making may vary.

SAT: I recently read somewhere that the embassy refused to ambassador's residence in Raubichi. This is also a sign?

Scanlan: Unfortunately, the seat was empty for more than two years. We must somehow accountable to taxpayers. We hope that the U.S. ambassador will return to Belarus, but no such signal from the Belarusian side we have not received …

SAT: Well, as they say, is not over yet … By the way, since the introduction of U.S. sanctions against Belarus has passed quite some time. As in Washington evaluate their effectiveness, because it's intended for something?

Scanlan: The United States expressed such a principled position.

SAT: However, in the post-White House found the strength to radically change the policy. Former deputy secretary of state for Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, David Kramer recently wrote an interesting article in The Washington Post. Senior administration officials constantly repeated that do not recognize the Russian sphere of influence, but their actions and their inaction, said Mr. Kremer, more eloquent than any words. Discuss whether the U.S. situation in Belarus and Moscow?

Scanlan: In David Kramer — by the way I know him personally and have great respect — have a right to express their personal opinion, and this is one of the strengths of our system. With regard to your question, let me stress that our relationship with Russia — a relationship with Russia, relations with Belarus — is another matter. Assistant Secretary Gordon said that we will strive to improve relations with Russia in our mutual interest, without sacrificing our principles and friends.

SAT: If possible, one economic issue. In Belarus, a lot of talk about liberalization, privatized enterprises. What, in your opinion, interfere
with U.S. investors to invest in Belarus? Whether you turn to for business advice?

Economic transformation in Belarus subject matter rather than a fait accompli

Scanlan: First, the economic reforms in Belarus subject matter rather than a fait accompli. To answer your question, I want to note that the rating of the World Bank's ease of doing business — is just one of the indicators that investors pay attention. Expectations of American businessmen willing to invest abroad, are identical with regard to Belarus, and in relation to other countries — these are market measures aimed at creating a favorable macroeconomic climate. This involves the implementation of structural reforms. Make the country more competitive, it is necessary the existence of a strong private sector, privatization should be open and transparent. This was declared the World Bank representative in Belarus Ivan Velev.

Unfortunately, as a result of the requirements of the Belarusian side of the radical, by 90%, reduce the staff of the Embassy in 2008, we now operate only five diplomats and we are physically unable to advise businessmen, as well as we can not issue a visa, for which I often apologize the Belarusians.

However, we are now actively working with Belarus through the Agency for International Development and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank on the creation of such regulatory environment that would facilitate the development of private small and medium-sized businesses in your country. Yet another example of our successful cooperation — is run on the basis of the BSU to the fall of next year master's program in business administration. Training will be conducted in the English language, and the program must be accredited CEEMAN (Association for Management Development in Central and Eastern Europe) to a diploma program recognized throughout Europe. Recently, I discussed this issue with the Minister of Economy Nikolai Snopkov.

SAT: Mr. Scanlan, although you come to Minsk a year ago, this is our first interview, in fact dating. I am sure that you, when just going to come here, have done a lot to our country, and whether in Belarus something that does not meet your previous notions about it that surprised you?

Your country has a unique history

Scanlan: Before coming here I've read in a long time internet Belarusian press. Including your newspaper. Familiar with the statement of the Belarusian leadership. But, of course, is my idea of Belarus deepened. Your country has a unique history. European history. At impressed me, like many cities in Belarus enjoyed Magdeburg Rights, which means self-government, religious tolerance, free market, flourishing arts. Political and economic reforms, we are talking about today — it was all in the history of your country.

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