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Opinions & Interviews

18 May 2017

Makei: Belarus can and should play a more important role in regional, global politics

Makei: Belarus can and should play a more important role in regional, global politics

MINSK, 18 May (BelTA) – Entering a new stage of development, Belarus can and should play a more important role not only in regional, but also in global politics, reads the article written by Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei published in the SB. Belarus Segodnya newspaper as part of a series of articles on the 25th anniversary of Belarus’ independence and sovereignty, BelTA has learned.

The minister wrote about the accomplishments of the modern Belarusian diplomacy and shared his thoughts about the most pressing issues on the international agenda.

The article reads that over the years of independence, Belarus has made a very big step forward in terms of its social, political, and economic development, achieved considerable results in the international arena, become a participant of new integration projects, expanded the circle of foreign partners and allies, entered new promising markets and gained a foothold on them. In a most difficult geopolitical context, the country has managed to prevent chaos and violence, preserve peace, security, stability in the society and the State.

“A small country, Belarus has been speaking in the United Nations and other important venues, presenting its comprehensive, ‘panoramic’ view on global issues, and putting forward large foreign policy initiatives relevant for many countries and peoples,” Vladimir Makei stressed.

With this in mind, he said a few words about the initiative to recognize the diversity of ways towards progressive development as a value of human civilization put forward by the Belarusian head of state from the UN Summit’s rostrum in 2005. The idea of “integration of integrations” is another famous initiative proposed by Belarus.

The adoption of the first National Human Rights Plan for 2016-2019 attested to Belarus’ openness to cooperation in any field, including the protection of human rights. Belarus is one of the 40 countries that have such programs.

“Our peace-loving multi-vector foreign policy is a conscious choice. ‘Belarus is a donor of security in the European region and in the world’ has already become a set expression. And this is absolutely well deserved. The work of the trilateral contact group on Ukraine in Minsk has confirmed Belarus’ reputation as a reliable provider of security in Europe playing an important role in the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine. The decision to hold the next OSCE PA Annual Session in Minsk in July 2017 was a logical result,” the article reads.

Vladimir Makei wrote that over the years of independence, Belarus has built a solid foundation for the relations with the key strategic partner, the Russian Federation, both in bilateral format and in integration associations. As a founding member of the Eurasian Economic Union, Belarus has made a considerable contribution to this process. However, the diplomat noted that EAEU’s major objectives, which include creating conditions for free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce without exemptions and restrictions and implementing a coordinated policy in key economy sectors, have not been achieved so far. The Belarusian side regularly draws the partners’ attention to this.

Vladimir Makei also noted that the processes in the Commonwealth of Independent States are controversial. “In light of the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, two key partners of our country, we will definitely need to look at the implementation of the Free Trade Zone Agreement from a new angle,” the minister believes.

According to Vladimir Makei, the change in the perception of Belarus resulting from its balanced foreign policy, including on the Ukrainian issue, has led to a kind of breakthrough in the western direction. The interaction with the European Union has been intensified. While Europe remains the second largest market for Belarusian goods, the EU can also be considered the main source of investment and loans for the Belarusian economy.

“Lifting of most sanctions against Belarus has opened a window of opportunity for the development of a full-scale dialogue with the West in all areas of interaction, first of all, in economy and investment, which is especially important for us, including access to the resources of international and European financial institutions,” the article reads.

There has been a positive trend in the relations of Belarus with the United States. “Washington has abandoned its previous negative recommendations to its businessmen and investors with regard to cooperation with our country, and now supports Belarus’ accession to the WTO, and does not hinder the development of relations between regions,” the minister stated.

In the context of the formation of a third pillar of its foreign policy, Belarus continues to strengthen the relations with the “distant arc” allies and partners. In recent years, the country has been maintaining a stable political and economic dialogue with traditional and new partners in Asia. The most vibrant is the cooperation with China, Vietnam, India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. Belarus has opened embassies in Mongolia, Pakistan, and Australia. “Involvement of Belarus in the new global project of the Silk Road Economic Belt should have a tangible impact on the investment attractiveness of the Belarusian economy, trade flows, development of new manufactures, transport and logistics, and creation of new jobs,” Vladimir Makei stressed.

In addition, the new points of support, additional “safety nets” created in the “distance arc” regions help boost the recognition of Belarus in the regions of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. This, in turn, allows Belarus to diversify its exports and, in general, improve the political cooperation with the “distant arc” partners.

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