Minsk is ready to make concessions if Western capitals consider compromise

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September 19, 2016 10:04

President Lukashenka has demonstrated a commitment to concessions in relations with Western capitals by allowing two opposition representatives in the Parliament. Due to a serious shortage of funds, Minsk is likely to use all available resources to enhance its influence in Washington and to unlock access to international loans.

The USA would reconsider sanctions against Minsk if the situation with democracy and human rights improved, State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters.

The long-lasting negotiations over gas and oil issues with Russia imply that tension has built up in Russo-Belarusian relations and that the Kremlin has taken a hard line. Amid strengthened power component in the Kremlin’s foreign policy, the Belarusian authorities may wary about enhanced aggression from the Kremlin in relations with Minsk.

In addition, the authorities could have decided to allow Anna Konopatskaya from the UCP and Elena Anisim to win parliamentary seats in order to reduce influence of former presidential candidate Tatsiana Karatkevich from Tell the Truth campaign. Besides, the non-recognition of the Belarusian Parliamentary elections implies that President Lukashenka remained the only legitimate negotiator on the international arena.

Before the Parliamentary race started in Belarus, US Charge d'Affaires in Belarus Roland Scott made a statement about the possibility of mutual exchange of ambassadors, which was probably interpreted by the Belarusian authorities as a desire to remove tension in bilateral relations. Minsk regards Washington as the main obstacle in access to international loans.

Overall, Minsk is ready to make concessions on its terms.

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