Belarus Foreign Policy Index №21 (July–August 2014)

Belarus Foreign Policy Index №21 (July–August 2014)

BISS presents the twenty-first issue of Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index, which explores the country’s five foreign policy dimensions in July and August 2014.

The landmark event of the period was the Customs Union–Ukraine–EU Summit that took place in Minsk on 26 August. The factor that dominated the international policy framework in the region was the Ukrainian crisis, which naturally shaped the relationships between official Minsk and Russia, the European Union and Ukraine itself.

The authors of the Index note that the reasonable position of the Belarusian administration on Ukraine, which resulted in the recognition of Minsk as a negotiating platform, improved the international image of the country and has potential to speed up the normalization of its relationship with the West.

However, if the crisis in Ukraine should further escalate, the Belarusian administration may have no choice but take a more specific stance on its relations with Ukraine. The unwillingness of the Belarusian leadership to sacrifice its ties with Ukraine may cause tensions between Minsk and Moscow.

Belarus has been increasingly critical of its relations with China. Focus seems to have been shifted from ambitious declarations about high-profile, albeit hardly realizable projects towards smaller yet more realistic arrangements.

Difficulties persist in Belarus’s relations with the countries of the Middle East, which is mostly due to the instability in the region. Against this backdrop, Minsk continued making efforts to promote its relations with African and South Asian countries. The Belarusian government has introduced new instruments in order to reinforce its foreign economic contacts, especially when it comes to lending schemes. The administration is faced with a challenge to make up, at least partially, for the country’s foreign trade deficit through the promotion of trade with developing economies.

Read the full text of the twenty-first issue of Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index in PDF