Wicker, Shaheen Urge Swift Appointment of New U.S. Special Envoy to Belarus

Push Comes Following Departure of Ambassador Fisher & Amid Lukashenko’s Continued Crackdown on Human Rights

August 5, 2022

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a co-chair of the Free Belarus Caucus, led a bipartisan letter with Sen. Jeanee Shaheen, D-N.H., to Secretary of State Antony Blinken advocating for the preservation of the role of U.S. Special Envoy to Belarus and asking the State Department to work with the Biden administration to expeditiously fill the position. In the letter, the Senators thanked Ambassador Fisher for spotlighting Lukashenka’s horrendous human rights abuses and building a strong foundation for a democratic future for Belarus during her tenure. They noted that given Fisher's recent departure, a new Special Envoy is needed to continue advancing the United States’ diplomatic engagement with Belarus.  

The letter was also signed by Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. 

“We write to express our continued support for the position of U.S. Special Envoy to Belarus, which is vital to promoting democracy and freedom in Belarus,” wrote the Senators. “As Mr. Lukashenka tightens his authoritarian grip, the United States must remain a committed partner for all those pursuing a democratic future for Belarus. Ambassador Fisher provided critical support to the pro-democracy movement in Belarus and was a strong advocate for its democratic aspirations. She kept the spotlight on Lukashenka’s horrendous human rights abuses and worked with Senators to establish the Free Belarus Caucus, which continues to marshal bipartisan support for the Belarussian people.”  

They continued: “On June 9, 2022, Ambassador Fisher announced her departure from the role of U.S. Special Envoy to Belarus. We wish to thank the Government of Lithuania and the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius for their partnership in America’s efforts to support the Belarusian people, and we congratulate Ambassador Fisher on her tour of duty. Her role of Special Envoy cannot be left vacant. As Ambassador Fisher demonstrated, this role played a critical role in keeping much- needed focus on Belarus, and the Administration needs to ensure this continues.” 

Full text of the letter is available here