Minsk is ready for open cooperation with international observers
At a press conference in Minsk, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission Jacques Faure said that the first long-term observers had already arrived in Belarus, another 36 would arrive in the coming days, and that more than 400 ODIRH experts would observe the elections. The Belarusian authorities stand ready for more open cooperation with the OSCE/ODIHR observation mission. So far, there were no serious violations in the organization of the presidential campaign and amid low political activity of the population, the Belarusian authorities have refrained from repressions against the political opponents. The Belarusian authorities are counting on the limited recognition of the presidential elections by Western observers, that is, that they will state some progress as compared with the 2010 presidential campaign.
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.