Belarusian government counts on Poroshenko’s help on Western front
Belarus’ President Lukashenko has congratulated Poroshenko on his election as Ukraine’s President.
Belarus’ authorities are interested in developing trade and economic relations with Ukraine and count on Kiev’s assistance in advancing their interests in Brussels – they hope to repeat the 2008-2010 Belarusian-European dialogue, which at one time was assisted by ‘revolutionary’ President Yushchenko. However, Belarusian-Ukrainian political relations will be hampered by the Russo-Ukrainian confrontation, in which Belarus will strive to adhere to a balanced position.
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.