Repaying natural gas debt has not hindered fulfilment of requirements for fifth tranche from EEU Anti-Crisis Fund
In April 2017, Belarus repaid USD 726 million debt for natural gas, partially using gold reserves. Belarus used funds from a special account, which collected current payments of enterprises for natural, as well as the National Bank bonds worth USD 106 million. As of May 1st, Belarus’ international reserves are likely to somewhat reduce, the net currency supply on the domestic currency market is likely to persist, the EEU Anti-Crisis Fund is likely to allocate the fifth tranche and the National Bank and the Finance Ministry are likely to issue new currency bonds worth circa USD 200 million. One of the benchmarks for obtaining the fifth tranche from the EEU Anti-Crisis Fund is the level of international reserves, which as of July 1st, 2017 should not be less than USD 5.2 billion. Taking into account the expected revenues, Belarus should be able to ensure that this requirement is met by the due date.
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.