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«Painting a black cat white is a tall order,» says independent Belarus economist Leanid Zaika, referring to Belarus prime-minister Mikhail Myasnikovich’s task of attracting foreign investment at the upcoming US/Belarus investment forum in New York.

Myasnikovich is expected to attend that event on September 23 and the UN Climate Summit 2014 the following day.

«Americans are clever. They have boundless opportunities for investment, and Belarus’ image as a good and safe place to do business isn’t all that attractive,» said Zaika.

Independent political analyst Ales Lahviniec says that Belarusian authorities have in the past participated in similar forums in the UK and Germany, to little effect. «This event is probably a result of a recent US delegation’s visit to Belarus,» says Lahviniec.

Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s refusal to officially recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and his seemingly neutral stance on the Ukraine/Russia conflict are viewed by many analysts as a portal to a possible thaw in relations between the US and Belarus, which in recent years have been strained over human rights issues.