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Why is there a proposal for Belarus being put on Trump’s travel ban list? Or did they really mean Bangladesh? It is suspected that Pompeo has confused the two: https://twitter.com/Matt__Graham/status/1221137741142020102
Pompeo is in Belarus on Saturday, February 1st. Since he is coming from Ukraine maybe he won’t get lost and end up in Bangladesh.

Related: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mike-pompeo-mary-louise-kelly-bangladesh-ukraine_n_5e2cc63ec5b6779e9c33f29a Pompeo forbade the National Public Radio journalist from going with him on his trip!

Is this a Trump-Pompeo shakedown of Belarus? Menacing Belarus with a travel ban?

On January 21, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Politico all quoted unnamed officials in Trump’s administration as saying Kyrgyzstan and Belarus were being considered for the travel ban. They said other countries that could be added to the travel-ban list included Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.” RFERL, Jan 22, 2020: https://www.rferl.org/a/surprise-in-belarus-kyrgyzstan-about-reports-on-expanded-us-travel-ban/30391800.html

The Wall Street Journal is Murdoch owned, as is Fox. So, if Wall Street Journal reports it, along with NYT and Politico, it is likely true.

[Update note: Currently Belarus has been excluded from the list, for whatever reasons – misunderstanding, successful shakedown, who knows? https://www.voanews.com/usa/trump-curbs-immigration-6-nations ]

If it is a shakedown, we can think of two plausible scenarios:
A recent survey says that the vast majority of Russians do not want to be united with Belarus; the Belarus people seem to want to keep Belarus independent, including Belarus’ president Lukashenka. This leaves Putin who apparently wants to absorb Belarus into a “greater Russia”. So, Putin could want Trump-Pompeo to pressure Belarus into union with Russia.

On the other hand, Pompeo’s been called the Koch Brothers’ favorite Congressman, and reportedly owes his political (and business) career to them. At least one Koch brother is (or was) a member of Mar-a-Lago Club, and lives near Trump. Bill Koch apparently still owns Oxbow Carbon and may wish to force some mega-polluting pet-coke upon Belarus, and/or coal, and/or sell them petroleum. It is possible that Bill Koch’s recently deceased twin brother left him interest in Koch Industries. A few weeks ago: “Top Trump donors gather to celebrate massive fundraising totals: Jared Kushner and Ronna Romney McDaniel will fete donors at a Saturday event at Bill Koch’s house“, Jan. 3, 2020, Politico: https://archive.li/EU4h8
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2019/08/24/trump-pb-club-member-david-koch-joins-dead-appearing-in-epsteins-black-book David Koch deceased or literally disappeared?

Then there is Carl Icahn who may wish to sell his Cheniere LNG liquified natural gas to Belarus. Both Koch(s) and Carl Icahn may have interest in Putin’s Russia. Trump owes Carl Icahn big time for saving his casinos. Carl Icahn had some serious interests in Russia, and perhaps still does: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/us-congress-members-press-epa-admin-pruitt-on-trump-advisor-carl-icahns-conflicts-of-interest-re-the-renewable-fuel-standard/

Koch Industries, Inc. owns a diverse group of companies engaged in trading, investment and operations. These companies have a presence in about 50 countries and employ nearly 30,000 people in core industries such as trading, petroleum, chemicals, fibers, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, securities and finance, as well as in other ventures and investments. Koch Industries is based in Wichita, Kan.”

We can think of a third reason, but it’s rather complex and hypothetical regarding Jared Kushner’s family, whose roots are in Belarus. There are probably more which you may think of.

As Reported by BelSat: https://belsat.eu/en/news/normalizing-us-belarus-relations-mike-pompeo-due-in-minsk/
Normalizing US-Belarus relations: Mike Pompeo due in Minsk
2020.01.29 10:02
The US State Secretary Mike Pompeo is expected to meet with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on February, 1. The upcoming event might be regarded as the highest-level US official’s visit in the last 26 years: as far back as the year of 1994, the then US President Bill Clinton arrived in Minsk.

In the context of public discussions around the country’s independence, oil disputes with Russia, the talks might focus on sovereignty rather than democracy or human rights. However, in light of the current political situation in the US, it is highly likely that the core of Pompeo’s diplomatic tour will be placed on Ukraine.

Is Belarus in focus?
Although the visit appears to be important for the Belarus-US relations, the significance of it should not be overestimated. Many see Pompeo’s trip as an attempt to secure Trump’s position before the Senate trial initiated after the telephone conversation of Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky in the summer of 2019.

On January 30, Pompeo will head to Kyiv, where he is to meet with the Ukrainian leader. On February 1, the US State Secretary will spend a few hours in Minsk and then fly to Kazakhstan. Initially, the diplomatic tour was scheduled for early January, but later it was deferred to a later date due to the situation in the Middle East.

On January 6, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the need for strengthening cooperation over the telephone. Pompeo spoke up for Belarus’ territorial integrity and sovereignty; Makey, in turn, expressed support for the United States in the wake of the attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad.

The official statement by the US Embassy reads that the goal of the visit is ‘to underscore the US commitment to a sovereign, independent, stable, and prosperous Belarus’ aiming to normalize relations of the countries.

US message to Minsk?
Mike Pompeo is not the first US diplomat to put an emphasis on the issue of sovereignty when communicating with Belarusian officials. In the autumn of 2019, John Bolton and David Hale had the same message to both the Belarusian government and the opposition. If compared to that of the past, the recent development of Belarus-US relations happens to be a very significant step. In 2008, the countries recalled their ambassadors as a result of the growth of tension. Only in 2018, the relationship started to normalize; a number of diplomatic visits being increased.

Pompeo’s visit to Belarus will be taking place in the context of the threat to Belarus’ independence and sovereignty since Russia has been pushing for the two countries’ further integration. In December 2019, Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka were about to sign the road maps. However, as they failed to agree on several issues, the documents were not approved. Russia continues to blackmail Belarus saying that closer economic cooperation is possible only in exchange for deeper integration.

Following the oil disputes with Russia, Belarus made steps towards securing alternative oil sources in Norway. Finding alternative energy sources, Belarus can decrease its dependence on Russia in both economic and political field. During his recent visit to Shklou, Lukashenka not only confirmed the readiness of Belarus to diversify energy sources, but also highlighted a pro-independence position of the current government.

“We have our interests, our state with its people, and we must protect them at any cost,” he said.

The integration talks caused protests in Belarusian cities, the biggest of which was held in Minsk on December, 20. As a result, more than 60 people were fined or detained, the organizer of the anti-integration protest Pavel Sevyarynets was charged twice.

Despite US commitment to democracy in Belarus reflected in Belarus Democracy Act 2004, the issues of sovereignty, independence, and economic cooperation will probably be on the agenda of the meeting of Pompeo and Lukashenka. Political analyst Artsyom Shraybman believes that the Belarusian leader would likely try to shift the dialogue to Belarus sovereignty threatened by Russia. According to him, the word ‘democracy’ disappears from the statements made by US officials who have lately visited Belarus.

“They all come with the support of prosperous, stable, and independent Belarus,” he said.

At the same time, one should not expect US close cooperation with the Belarusian government as the latter openly violate human rights. Opening to the US would imply that Lukashenka should release pressure on civil society activists and opposition forces. This is a step that the Belarusian president will hardly take.

Although Lukashenka is mindful of potential risks and threats to his power from economic liberalization, he is open to changes in some areas, such as further developing the IT sector, privatising non-strategic state-owned enterprises and increasing trade with EU countries, experts John Lough and Katia Glod said in an article for Chatham House.

Alesia Rudnik, belsat.eu
Tags: Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Artsyom Shraybman, Donald Trump, independence, Mike Pompeo, Minsk, oil, sovereignty, Ukraine, Uladzimir Makey, USA-Belarus

US Embassy Belarus/Dept of State news release:
Secretary Pompeo’s Travel to the UK, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan
Home | News & Events | Secretary Pompeo’s Travel to the UK, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan
U.S Department of State

Press Statement

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

January 24, 2020
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will travel to London, UK; Kyiv, Ukraine; Minsk, Belarus; Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan; and Tashkent, Uzbekistan January 29 to February 4.

Secretary Pompeo will travel to London on January 29, where he will meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to reaffirm the Special Relationship following the UK’s departure from the EU and discuss ways to broaden and deepen trade ties.

The Secretary will then travel to Kyiv on January 30, where he will meet with President Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Prystaiko, and Defense Minister Zahorodnyuk to highlight U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Secretary will also attend a wreath laying ceremony at St. Michael’s to honor those who have fallen in the Donbas, and meet with religious, civil society, and business community leaders.

On February 1, in Minsk, the Secretary will meet with President Lukashenka and Foreign Minister Makei to underscore the U.S. commitment to a sovereign, independent, stable, and prosperous Belarus, and affirm our desire to normalize our bilateral relations.

Following his visit to Minsk, the Secretary will travel to Nur-Sultan, where he will meet with Kazakhstani President Tokayev, First President Nazarbayev, and Foreign Minister Tileuberdi to reaffirm our shared commitment to peace, prosperity, and security in Central Asia.

The Secretary will then travel to Tashkent February 2-3, where he will meet with President Mirziyoyev and Foreign Minister Kamilov to underscore U.S. support for Uzbekistan’s reforms and the country’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

In Tashkent, the Secretary will also participate in a C5+1 Ministerial with the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan to stress U.S. support for a better connected, more prosperous, and more secure Central Asia, consistent with the U.S.’s new Central Asia Strategy.

By U.S. Mission Belarus | 26 January, 2020 | Topics: Key Officials, News, U.S. & Belarus, U.S. Secretary of State https://by.usembassy. gov/secretary-pompeos-travel-to-the-uk-ukraine-belarus-kazakhstan-and-uzbekistan/