Privatisation and banking sector are the most likely sources to replenish international reserves
Belarus’ international reserve assets calculated by the IMF SDDS standards decreased by USD 427.7 million in January 2014. Due to significant payments on Belarus’ public debt and the lack of loans from Russia, Belarus’ international reserves fell to USD 6.2 billion, regardless of a relative stability on the currency market. Most likely, the National Bank will increase pressure on the banking sector in order to find means to replenish the gold reserves. In addition, Belarus may reconsider prices on privatisation assets and sell some for circa USD 100-200 million.
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.