Belarus to step up own security through contacts with Washington
Last week, President Lukashenko and Foreign Minister Makey met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rubin. Belarus anticipates expanding pragmatic cooperation with the United States in areas of mutual interest, which has enhanced over the past two years– for example, regarding safe transit of NATO cargo to Afghanistan through Belarus. Amid the unpredictable Kremlin’s foreign policy, Belarus’ improved relations with Washington also enhance her own security. In addition, the authorities expect that Washington will not interfere with the presidential election in 2015 through funding of the opposition and destabilising the country.
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.