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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08MOSCOW883 2008-03-31 14:23:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
Cable title:  

GOR REACTION TO LUKASHENKO: U.S. REDUCTION "UNWISE"

Tags:   PREL PGOV BO RS 
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VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #0883 0911423
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311423Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7412
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000883 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/31/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV BO RS
SUBJECT: GOR REACTION TO LUKASHENKO: U.S. REDUCTION "UNWISE"

REF: MINSK 00215

Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells. Reasons 1.4 (B/D).



1. (C) MFA Second CIS Department Director Viktor Sorokin
told us March 31 that the GOB did not consult with the GOR
about its move and PM Zubkov, during his March 21 visit to
Minsk, was briefed on the developments after the fact and was
"asked to understand" the GOB's action. Sorokin maintained
that the GOR considered the situation "worrisome." and
thought that reducing the size of the U.S. Embassy was
"unwise."



2. (C) Sorokin, arguing that the GOR did not have much
leverage over Lukashenko, said that the GOR advised that the
GOB exercise restraint and refrain from "radical steps." He
maintained that the U.S. policy seeking isolation of rather
than engagement with Belarus had led to deteriorating
U.S.-Belarus relations. Sorokin attributed the culmination
of the worsening relationship -- Lukashenko's regime's
request to reduce staff at the U.S. Embassy Minsk -- to U.S.
sanctions against Belneftekhim (Belarus Oil and Chemical
Co.), which is one of the cornerstone companies contributing
to Belarus's state budget. Cornered and deprived of economic
opportunities, the Belarus leadership turned to the last
resort, he added.



3. (C) In response to our concerns over the opposition
crackdown, Sorokin simply said that it was an internal
matter, which was being resolved with the release of most of
those who were detained on March 25.
BURNS