Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index №13 (March-April 2013)

Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index №13 (March-April 2013)

BISS presents the thirteenth issue of Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index, which focuses on five foreign policy priorities of Belarus in March and April 2013. The most significant change recorded in that period is the step-up in Belarus’s foreign policy efforts in all areas—all of the foreign vectors are positive; some of them have seen marked improvements.

Russia has confirmed its commitment to a thoroughly measured support for Belarus, while showing its willingness to subsidize the economy of its ally to a level sufficient not to allow its collapse. Official Minsk had another chance to show its limited negotiability and readiness to make decisions that the Kremlin wants from it only in exchange for significant economic concessions. In the foreseeable future, Belarus and Russia are bound to reach some sort of compromise in a framework, where the Kremlin is building up its demands. It looks like Belarus will have to say goodbye to some of its assets and will not dare make any sharp moves against Russia.

The relationship between Belarus and the European Union was developing at a very high pace, as the period under monitoring was marked by an unprecedented number of diplomatic and political contacts. Importantly, all of these contacts have reached a high state level.

During the period under review, it became apparent that the hopes of the Belarusian authorities to achieve some political breakthrough in the relations with China in the wake of the rise to power of a new party and state administration were vain. In the meantime, the Belarusian expert community is increasingly concerned that Belarusian-Chinese relations are developing according to the Chinese scenario and turn out to be more economically beneficial to Beijing than for Minsk.

A most important trend observed in the last two months is the surge in Belarus’s efforts in the developing world. The Foreign Ministry and the administration of the state have made some specific moves to intensify collaboration, including the visit by President Lukashenka to Southeast Asia and the Near East. The monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Turkey seem to find it a crucial aspect of their relations with Belarus to withhold Minsk from collaborating with Syria and Iran.

In the relationship with Ukraine, one of the most sensitive issues for Belarus — the deliveries of Belarusian oil products to that country—was rapidly resolved. Apparently, following reshuffles in the Ukrainian government and appointment of a new supervisor of the relations with Belarus, Minsk managed to find some common ground with V. Yanukovych’s circle. Against this backdrop, the political contacts between the two countries ‘thawed’, which is confirmed by a telephone conversation between the two state leaders and agreement to have a top level meeting quite soon.

Read the full monitoring in PDF