Minsk anticipates to escape responsibility for failed deadlines during potash plant construction in Turkmenistan
Former Prime Minister and Chairman of Council of the Republic Mikhail Myasnikovich expressed discontent to Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Belarus Nazarguly Shagulyev due to the difficulties faced by Belarusian workers during the construction of the Garlyk mining and processing plant. In turn, Turkmenistan accused Belarus of noncompliance with her obligations in the construction of the Garlyk mine. So far, there were no serious mutual claims between Minsk and Ashgabat, regardless of seriously delayed deadlines at the construction site in Turkmenistan. That said, the plant should have been commissioned in 2015. Belarus and Turkmenistan regard their bilateral relations as a strategic partnership and hold annual bilateral summits. Apparently, prolonged economic crisis in Belarus has affected Belarus’ ability to fulfil her commitments in the mine construction, albeit the president supervises the project. Minsk is likely to exacerbate bilateral relations due to the inability to fulfil the construction commitments by the designated deadline, March 2017.
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.