Belarus puts negotiations with IMF on hold as issue with funding of public debt has been resolved
The Finance Ministry has announced a break in talks with the IMF over a new loan programme. Belarus needed the IMF loan to refinance public debt and she was ready to meet some of the requirements. However, due to a success with sales of Eurobonds worth USD 1.4 billion in June 2017, and the receipt of a USD million tranche from the Eurasian Development Bank, Belarus has somewhat lost interest in talks with the IMF. Hence, the projected reforms would be postponed, the growth in housing utility services (one of the IMF requirements) would be coordinated with the household income growth, and the state support for the economy would increase. Belarus has resolved the issue with repaying due public debt for 2017 - early 2018. She would continue borrowing on the domestic market as the yield on foreign currency bonds continues to reduce in order to reduce public debt servicing costs.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.