Sat, 19 Sep 2020

MINSK -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to visit Minsk on February 1, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Shuplyak has said.

Diplomatic sources also told RFE/RL on January 22 that Pompeo's stop to the Belarusian capital would be part of a regional tour that would also include legs in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment on his future travel plans.

Amid growing tensions in the Middle East, Pompeo on January 1 canceled a planned five-day trip to Kyiv, Minsk, Nur-Sultan, and Tashkent that was scheduled to start two days later.

Pompeo would be the highest-level U.S. official to have visited Belarus since diplomatic relations with the United States were frayed more than a decade ago.

His first visit to Ukraine as the U.S. top diplomat would come amid an acrimonious impeachment trial currently under way in the Senate on whether to remove President Donald Trump from office.

A July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is at the center of the trial.

A transcript of the conversation revealed that Trump had urged Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son.

Critics say crucial military aid to Kyiv was withheld as leverage.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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