Minsk ready to share experience with Damascus in ensuring security
Last week, Belarus’ Foreign Minister Makey visited Syria, and met with President Bashar al-Assad, Prime Minister Wael al-Halyaki, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Walid al-Muallem, supreme mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, and representatives of the Syrian business community. Makey’s visit fits the national action programme aiming to diversify Belarusian exports by deepening cooperation with the Middle East region. In 2014 the minister visited the UAE, Iraq and Iran having the similar purpose. The Belarusian government also expects to participate in the restoration of the Syrian economy when the military-political crisis ends. In addition, official Minsk is ready to provide diplomatic support for the Syrian leadership in establishing full cooperation within the international coalition against terrorism.
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.