aA
Julie Fisher, the US ambassador to Belarus, will temporarily reside in Vilnius as she does not have a visa to travel to Minsk, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Mantas Adomenas said on Wednesday.
Julie Fisher, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
Julie Fisher, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
© Scanpix / Reuters

The US has formally asked the Lithuanian government to accredit the ambassador to Lithuania, Adomenas told BNS, adding that "the government has yet to formulate its formal consent".

"This makes us extremely happy," he said.

Lithuania received the US request on Monday, according to the official.

The US embassy to Lithuania confirmed to BNS that Belarus had not yet issued a visa to Fisher, but it did not comment on whether she would reside in Vilnius.

"She will continue to engage with Belarusians outside of Belarus, including the leaders of the protest movement, media professionals, students, and other members of civil society to express our support," the embassy said in a comment.

"She will also continue our close coordination with our European allies and partners. In addition, we regret that the Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refused to move on the issuance of five other official visas for US Department of State and USAID diplomats".

Meanwhile, Belarus' Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said on Wednesday that Minsk was ready to receive the US ambassador "at any time", but Belarus wanted "to see a clear and understandable prospect of further interaction with our US partners in all areas".

"We are interested in building normal and equal relations with the United States in all areas," he told ONT TV Channel.

The US embassy said that Fisher "is traveling to Vilnius and Warsaw this week to engage directly with leaders of the Belarusian democracy movement to explore ways in which the United States in coordination with Allies and partners can help Belarus move beyond its current political crisis towards new elections in 2021".

Fisher on Wednesday met with Belarus' opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who currently lives in Vilnius, according to Adomenas.

"Vilnius becomes a major capital for working with Minsk," the vice-minister said. "There are many international organizations here that cannot operate in Belarus.

"It is no coincidence that Tsikhanouskaya's headquarters is located here as well," he added.

On Monday, the US said it was reimposing sanctions on nine state-owned companies in Belarus, including Belneftekhim, after strongman Alexander Lukashenko ignored warnings to release political prisoners detained during pro-democracy protests.

Minsk has called the new US sanctions "irresponsible".

On Thursday, Lukashenko is to go to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Belarus has been facing protests since Lukashenko claimed victory in last August's presidential election which the opposition and Western countries say was rigged.

Protesters demand the resignation of the authoritarian leader, the release of political prisoners and new elections.

BNS
It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.

Bayraktar drone arrives in Lithuania to be handed over to Ukraine

A Bayraktar combat drone has been delivered to Lithuania to be handed over to Ukraine, Defense...

More Lithuanians believe war in Ukraine will be long

The number of Lithuanian residents who believe the war in Ukraine will last more than a year has...

Lithuanian troops training in Germany to counter hybrid threats

Lithuanian troops are training to counter hybrid threats and conduct high-intensity collective defense...

Top court rejects convicts' appeals in January 13 case reduces one sentence

The Supreme Court of Lithuania on Thursday rejected the appeals lodged by a group of persons convicted...

Lithuania bans minors from buying lottery tickets

Minors will no longer be able to buy any lottery tickets in Lithuania from January 2023.

Top news

Bayraktar drone arrives in Lithuania to be handed over to Ukraine

A Bayraktar combat drone has been delivered to Lithuania to be handed over to Ukraine, Defense...

Car cleaning firm says data of 50,000 customers leaked

Svaros Broliai, a Lithuanian car washing and cleaning services provider, said late on Monday that...

More Lithuanians believe war in Ukraine will be long

The number of Lithuanian residents who believe the war in Ukraine will last more than a year has...

Lithuanian troops training in Germany to counter hybrid threats

Lithuanian troops are training to counter hybrid threats and conduct high-intensity collective defense...

Lithuania bans minors from buying lottery tickets

Minors will no longer be able to buy any lottery tickets in Lithuania from January 2023.