More information about Belarus is available on the Belarus Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Belarus in 1991, following its independence from the Soviet Union. Belarus has been led by the authoritarian Alyaksandr Lukashenka since 1994. Bilateral relations cooled following his election and have remained at a low level, despite U.S. efforts with the European Union to set benchmarks for improving Belarus' human rights and electoral practices. The United States calls for new presidential and parliamentary elections that comply with Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe standards, and for the release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners. The United States has imposed a variety of sanctions against Belarusian officials and entities.
U.S. Assistance to Belarus
U.S. Government assistance to Belarus focuses on supporting the Belarusian people in achieving a government that respects their democratic rights and fundamental freedoms. A fact sheet on U.S. assistance to Belarus can be found here.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The U.S. Government continues to support the development of the private sector in Belarus and its transition to a free-market economy. Under the Lukashenka regime, Belarusian authorities have pursued a generally hostile policy toward the private sector and have refused to initiate the basic economic reforms necessary to create a market-based economy. Most of the Belarusian economy remains under government control. The U.S. Government currently does not encourage U.S. companies to invest in Belarus. Belarus' opaque legal and regulatory systems do not create a business environment the U.S. Government recommends for investment.
Belarus's Membership in International Organizations
Belarus and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Belarus also is an observer to the World Trade Organization.
There currently is no U.S. Ambassador to Belarus; the U.S. Charge d'Affaires is Ethan Goldrich. Belarus has capped the presence of U.S. diplomats, stationed or visiting for technical or administrative support, at five. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.
Belarus maintains an embassy in the United States at 1619 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-986-1604).
More information about Belarus is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Belarus Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Belarus Page
U.S. Embassy: Belarus
USAID Belarus Page
History of U.S. Relations With Belarus
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information