Belarusian military industry may receive investments from UAE
Lukashenka’s visit to the UAE aimed to ‘translate’ friendly political relations between Belarus and the UAE into bilateral financial cooperation, especially in the military-technical field. As a result, the UAE could become a direct capital investor to the Belarusian military-industrial complex enterprises and could start producing military products developed in Belarus.
From October 30th to November 5th, 2016, President Lukashenka visited main Belarusian partner-states in the Persian Gulf, Qatar and the UAE. In Doha, the parties negotiated political and trade-economic relations, while in the United Arab Emirates, the subject of negotiations was much broader.
Interestingly, Lukashenka did not meet the UAE President, however, held talks with all major law enforcement agencies, including, UAE Interior Minister Sheikh Seif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; and UAE Defence Minister, Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Among other issues, the parties discussed the military-technical cooperation.
The UAE is a long time consumer of the Belarusian military industry production. Belarus exported automotive vehicles, weapons guidance systems, and optics to the Emirates. In recent years, the UAE actively developed own production of unmanned aircraft and light wheeled armoured vehicles. However, they lacked the necessary scientific and engineering base to organise the full production cycle from designing to manufacturing such products. Belarus has such a base and thanks to positive political relations between the two states could become a comfortable partner for the Emirates.
In recent years, the Belarusian authorities attempted to raise foreign investment for the domestic military-industrial complex from the friendly political regimes and the states with minimal geopolitical interests in the Eastern European region. As a result, the UAE could become a direct capital investor to Belarusian military-industrial complex enterprises and could start producing military products developed in Belarus. That said, the most beneficial for Belarus, would be raising additional funds for developing new defence technology/products, which could become new export items.
Following crackdown and arrests of participants in the spring protests, the authorities resumed arrests as punishment for participating in street protests in addition to fines, which for some time were the only punishment for political activity. On September 22nd, 2017, the riot police detained the Belarusian National Congress leader Nikolai Statkevich, the opposition politician was placed in detention centre on Akrestin street. On the same day, after serving seven days of arrest, another BNC leader, Vladimir Neklyaev, was released. He was sentenced for organising a street protest on September 8th against the West-2017 exercises. Other participants in the protest have been fined too. The authorities are likely to continue to use fines and arrests against political activists to punish for their protest activity.