Official Minsk not interested in recognising separatist authorities in Abkhazia

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April 22, 2016 18:56

Valery Bganba, acting President of Abkhazia and Parliamentary Speaker wrote to President Alexander Lukashenko requesting him to consider recognition of Abkhazia’s sovereignty and independence.

Sukhumi has appealed to the Belarusian leadership several times since declaring its independence from Tbilisi, but the authorities in Minsk have used various pretexts not to recognise Abkhazia’s sovereignty. Previously, Russian media have pressured Lukashenko for his position, which differs from the Kremlin’s, by calling him a “traitor to the Russian world” - especially after Lukashenko refused to support the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine. Belarus is not going to disrupt the Belarus-EU settlement process and is likely to ignore Sukhumi’s request once again.

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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.