Belarus in modern world

Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko delivered his annual address to the nation and parliament. Below is the part of the presidential address that covers this country’s foreign political priorities
The political situation in the world is very unstable. In fact, it is so shaky that any unreasonable move might do irreparable harm. I might be wrong here, but I would like to share something with you today. The situation in the world is much more complicated now than it was immediately after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the main reason is that new “power centers” have emerged. They have appeared for real, not only on paper or in talks of the media. These new “power centers” are all due to exorbitant energy prices. The Persian Gulf was the first region to gain strength, especially Iran; then came China, and finally and most importantly, Russia is strong as never before. I am saying nothing of India and Latin America, which seem eager to pursue independent and ambitious foreign policies, often contrary to the courses the U.S. has imposed on them. These “power centers” claim more and more space in this small, tight and complicated world. As a result, the struggle among these nations is getting more and more desperate (it may be invisible now, but I do believe that we will be unfortunate to see open hostilities soon). We would not like an escalation of conflicts, as it happened over sixty years ago, before World War II.

This is why Belarus’ Foreign Ministry is to base its strategies on the assumption that the world has not become safer, but controversies are more furious than ever.

You should also bear in mind that unless prices for energy, raw materials and components necessary to make final goods (that the European Union and Belarus manufacture) cease rising so fast, economic processes will aggravate (we can notice it even now), and the world economy and financial system will collapse. You know what happens after this, so let us call the things their real names and honestly speak about what may happen in reality. I note once again that I am very sorry to say this; I would very much like the situation to develop otherwise.

As for Belarus, there are two negative factors that affect this country.

The first one is an unprecedented pressure exerted by the West, constant threats of sanctions and other inadequate or even absurd measures.
Secondly, the situation on the world market is getting unfavorable; prices are out of control, especially energy prices.

The recent political campaign in Belarus [the presidential elections] showed that these adverse conditions cannot unsettle the Belarusians, but, on the contrary, they seem to join the nation to make us stronger and ready to overcome difficulties and pursue our objectives.

Belarus is keeping to a consistent multi-directional policy aimed to expand its market outlets. The domestic market will be open for technologies and developments that cannot be produced in Belarus due to objective reasons.

We must not forget that Belarus has long lived in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization irrespective of our actual membership in the organization. We have a lot investment offers from foreign countries, but our companies are often unable to offer anything in exchange, as we are short of effective projects. We must cooperate with foreign partners in order to carry out long-range and profitable projects. Belarus has stable foreign economic relations with many countries on all continents, which are well aware that Belarus is a worthy partner. The colossal economic potential will help us get political recognition. Belarus has taken over chairmanship in the Eurasian Economic Community, the EurAsEC, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the CSTO. These are favorable factors that help us finally decide on the strategy of integration processes that would allow Belarus to keep its leading position in post-Soviet interstate organizations.
The integration with Russia clearly has its benefits. It is our historic choice. Our joint efforts are now aimed to choose the best model of integration in the scope of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. It is quite significant that we have switched to specific issues of social security, education, healthcare, tax policy and free travel from general organizational and regulatory issues. We have signed a package of documents that will resolve a number of everyday problems. We have been developing relations with our partners in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The reserves of multilateral relations within the commonwealth are not used efficiently enough, but it is not a good reason to liquidate the CIS. We have common interests, and any sort of integration is useful. We are to focus on transit, social and humanitarian cooperation inside the CIS.

At the same time we have to remember that the CIS needs drastic reforms to make decision-making more efficient and increase the responsibility of the member-states for their obligations. Belarus assumes that a fair world order may only be multi-polar. Many countries share this position of ours.

Striving for monopolism means candid dictatorship, whatever it may look like. It means imposing your will on one or several sovereign countries. History proves that it always entails wars, elimination of whole countries and world economic and political crises.

It is possible to resist this negative influence by consolidated efforts of all peace-loving nations. This is our position of principle that we openly advocate on the international scene.

Belarus as the country that suffered most during World War II has a moral and legal right to do so.

This is why our country became one of the initiators of the enhancement of the United Nations’ role in settling global world problems and building up international security.

It is from the same perspective that Belarus appreciates its participation in the Non-Aligned Movement, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other influential international bodies.

Belarus keeps friendly relations with many countries worldwide. Cooperation with Asia, Africa and Latin America have proved effective and profitable, however, China remains the key partner in the East, as that country shares Belarus’ positions on many issues.

We support a full-scale cooperation with the EU and the U.S., and it is clear that if we are interested in equal cooperation with the leading countries of the world, Belarus must correspond to their level in the economic and military sectors.

I reiterate that Belarus’ military doctrine is based on international security principles and idea of world peace. We will redouble efforts to create an integrated system of state defense, and the military and industrial complex will develop as a high-tech multiple-discipline segment.

There is no militarization here, as we have never aimed at militarizing this country, and we will never have such goals. We are aware of the role Belarus plays in building up the concept of European security now.
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