Amiable country has become synonymous with strong peace
Belarus plays important role in preserving stability in region
Global economic turbulence and geopolitical storms appear from time to time, causing us to muse on our survival as an independent country, and our desire to reinforce our independence. That’s why it was very important at the Belarusian People’s Congress to analyse trends in world policy and to clearly determine major priorities of Belarus’ foreign political strategy.
Dialogues during breaks of the Congress’ work
Over the last five years, the world has changed considerably, though our principles and obligations before partners have not. We haven’t hesitated in our preferences, nor betrayed anyone. We’ve continued to formulate our position openly and honestly, advocating fair world order, while remembering our national interests.
Such principles are respected by the global community; it’s no accident that Minsk was chosen to host negotiations on Ukraine. Here, at the centre of Europe, on February 15th, 2015, after an intense 16-hour diplomatic marathon, the leaders of the ‘Normandy Four’ — Putin, Poroshenko, Merkel and Hollande — signed a Declaration laying the foundations for de-escalation of conflict in Ukraine.
Doctor of Political Sciences Sergey Kizima says of our role in this process, “Belarus was the first to toll an alarm bell, was the first to see the scale of the impending catastrophe and was the first to propose realistic plans on how to freeze or stop this conflict.”
As a result, the term ‘Minsk Agreements’ has firmly entered the lexicon of politicians; ‘Minsk’ has become synonymous with ‘peace’. The peace-making efforts of our country have drastically changed Western perceptions, believes German politologist Reinhold Krumm. He says, “The lifting of sanctions from the political elite of Belarus is a step towards business co-operation between the EU and Belarus. The European Union has again seen Minsk as a partner trying to regulate relations between the West and the East. Even during the period of ‘freezing’ of relations, the West didn’t stop its co-operation with Belarus in such sensitive spheres as joint development of borders, the fight against drug trafficking and trans-boundary crimes. The EU never doubted that its borders to the East were reliably protected. The major task for coming years is to encourage the emerging trend of improving relations with the West, materialising concrete projects (from trade and investments to simplification of the visa regime).”
The previous five years haven’t been in vain in the Eastern direction, as we’ve become a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and have accessed new markets in distant countries, making a true breakthrough in relations with China. A bright example is the launch of construction of the high-tech Great Stone Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park and Belarus’ joining of the ambitious Silk Road Economic Belt project.
Without exaggeration, Minsk has an historical role as an economic, trade and logistics crossroads between the West and the East. Powerful China, being the second largest economy in the world, sees our country as a reliable and promising partner, as confirmed since our independence, with Belarus becoming an important player in regional policy.
Nikolay Shchekin, a candidate of philosophical sciences, tells us, “It’s possible to survive in the contemporary world by implementing an integration paradigm of development and creating a multi-polar world order, despite the severest competition between states and between trans-national corporations, and despite aspirations by trans-national capital to impose its will. In this respect, Belarus is a wonderful illustration of a country for which the necessity of co-operation outstrips its aspiration to compete.”
By Vasily Kharitonov