Top diplomat on Europe who contributed to US-Belarus thaw resigning

Wess Mitchell, the top diplomat in charge of European affairs, will resign from the State Department next month.

The Assistant Secretary of State responsible for the US State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs cited personal and professional reasons in a letter of resignation he submitted to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Washington Post reports.

“Mitchell, who calls himself a devoted Atlanticist, has been in charge of European relations at a time when top U.S. officials have been openly dismissive and skeptical of the value of international organizations, including the European Union,” WP’s Carol Morello said in Monday’s article.

The US diplomat took a firm stance on the Belarusian issue at the Atlantic Council on October, 18.

“Today it is the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of frontier states like Ukraine, Georgia, and even Belarus, that offer the surest bulwark against Russian neo-imperialism,” he said.

In his opinion, the US should support the states in their effort to maintain sovereignty.

In late October, when Minsk was hosting the Munich Security Conference Core Group meeting, Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka met with Wess Mitchell.

“If we make advances in our relations, I promise you that Belarusians will be the most reliable, honest and sincere partners of yours,” the head of state said.

During his stay in Minsk, Mitchell laid a white-red-white floral tribute at the monument of prominent Belarusian poet and writer Yanka Kupala (Ivan Lutsevich) honouring his vision for ‘an independent and sovereign Belarus’.

Two weeks ago, Belarus lifted a cap on the number of US diplomats allowed in the country, which is indicative of another step towards normalizing the relations. On January 10, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey informed Wess Mitchell, of the decision in a phone call.

Former Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer: Belarus becomes more vulnerable (interview)