Mediating and peacemaking efforts still bring political benefits to Belarus
Russia has asked Belarus to represent her interests in the Joint Consultative Group on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. In addition, Belarus has confirmed her readiness to become a platform for the final stage of negotiations, as well as for the final peace conference to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Belarusian authorities seek to anchor as a regional negotiation platform and a mediator-peacemaker in the international public space, which, they believe, will enable them to dictate their terms in Belarus-EU relations. In addition, official Minsk aims to balance its foreign policy so that it ensures greater independence from the Kremlin.
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.