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Belarus hasn’t made serious mistakes in its foreign policy

Alexander Lukashenko states that there are no obvious errors in Belarusian foreign policy
By Vasily Mishutin

“I should note that we’ve made no serious mistakes or failures in our foreign policy which could have negatively influenced the fate of our state,” noted the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, at a ceremony to present Vladimir Makei as the new Foreign Minister.

Speaking of his decision to relieve Sergei Martynov of the post, replacing him with Mr. Makei, the President explains, “I didn’t investigated thoroughly the reaction of our opponents or supporters but wish to voice my position. Having worked as Minister for Foreign Affairs for almost ten years, Sergei Martynov recently expressed his wish to change roles. This step [dismissal] was taken at his initiative and, from my point of view, seemed a good idea — especially in its motivation.”

Mr. Lukashenko admitted that he gave great thought as to whom to appoint as the new Foreign Minister. He also added, “It’s of no minor importance to me where Mr. Martynov will work next; he is a personal friend and a friend of the state.” The President continued, “He’s done a great deal to shape our foreign political and economic department and is a reasonable man. He has never tried my patience, through his actions or behaviour. Moreover, I’ve encouraged him to work in untraditional areas, where analysis has been vital.”

The President noted that the achievements of the Ministry were the result of team work, led by Mr. Martynov. “Having a new Minister, you’ll probably be motivated in a way needed not only in the field of foreign policy but of domestic policy,” Mr. 
Lukashenko said, addressing Foreign Ministry representatives. “The quality and the efficiency of your work will determine how our young sovereign state is perceived globally — particularly in certain areas of the world,” stressed the President.

Speaking of the new Minister, Mr. Lukashenko reminded everyone that Mr. Makei has made a name for himself not only within the Foreign Ministry at an early age but has worked in our embassies abroad’. He added that ‘we should probably have used his potential wider in our foreign policy’. He continued, “It’s no secret that I involved him in some foreign political initiatives. At my order, he met various heads in the West and East, doing his best to normalise our relations during the most acute times — especially in the West. He did this successfully.”

During the ceremony, the President awarded Mr. Martynov with an Order of the Fatherland of the 3rd Degree, for his many years of work in the field of foreign policy and for his contribution to the development of Belarus’ international relations.
Mr. Lukashenko outlined the Ministry’s major tasks for the coming year.

Promoting the state’s foreign economic interests
Taking into account the open nature of the Belarusian economy, success in this area is important for the sustainability of the state and the well-being of Belarusian citizens. The dynamics of foreign trade figures and the volume of attracted investments should be the major focus of every Belarusian.

Finding new partners and trade diversification
It’s worth looking closely again at a map of the globe, to see where we can enhance our competitiveness via our diplomatic presence, promoting our goods and services and attracting investments and technologies. 

Foreign ministry work and that of embassies
It’s necessary to relieve diplomats of unnecessary red tape, giving them time for initiatives and projects rather than reports and plans. Diplomats should not act as mere ‘postmen’, formally distributing correspondence between Belarusian and foreign partners. Their task is to analyse information, proposing decisions which serve Belarus’ interests to the utmost.

Information work
There’s no need to be afraid of singing the praises of Belarus — despite criticism. Belarus is a reliable partner: a donor of international security and stability. For a long time, we’ve maintained smooth transit of resources to Europe — including energy transit. We are spending a great deal on combating illegal migration, human trafficking and illicit drug and arms trafficking.

Foreign political provision for the forthcoming election campaign
The Foreign Ministry is responsible for building mutually respectful and constructive dialogue with all foreign representatives showing interest in this event, including the foreign media and observers. It is also responsible for the smooth running of voting at our foreign embassies.

Additionally, the President mentioned strategic avenues of foreign political activity. He stressed that Russia is a strategic partner and Belarus’ close ally, noting that the Union State needs attention and further development. He is also keen to see favourable conditions created for Belarus’ participation in the Single Economic Space and the Eurasian Union (now being formed).

The President noted that Belarus’ relations with the EU could be better, “We aren’t saying that everything is perfect in our country but we are ready to study all that is new and advanced. However, we want to do this without external pushing, threats or blackmail. Our national psyche makes it impossible to ‘jump over’ several stages of development, to suddenly embrace ‘a happy democratic future’. Every state must develop in a steady, evolutionary manner.”
The new Foreign Minister is tasked with fulfilling these Presidential-set tasks.
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