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.
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.