Calendar of events
December brings moderate frost and snow, although temperature extremes are part of modern times. It’s time to reflect on what the year has brought us, although the calendar of political and civil events is yet to finish. These lines are written in early December, so the presidential elections still lie ahead. December 19th will mark the beginning of the new presidential term, and our country will of course continue its path of sovereignty and independence as a contemporary state. Politicians, economists and sociologists will all have their own views on 2010, while each one of us will have our own memories. We cannot help but assess our personal existence against the backdrop of global events. Naturally, in our modern world, we must keep abreast of the latest developments and set a clear strategy for our future.
The All-Belarus People’s Congress and Alexander Lukashenko’s conceptual speech was a landmark event for our country, as Historic choice for independent, strong and prosperous Belarus explores. Our relations with Russia have improved, as noted by many political analysts and experts following a December top level meeting between Alexander Lukashenko and Dmitry Medvedev. There were many reasons for the presidents to meet, but the formation of the Single Economic Space (SES) was perhaps the most significant. Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan hope to make the SES a reality by January 2012, as foreseen by the package of documents signed in Moscow. Naturally, the meeting deserves attention for other reasons, as detailed in Consensus leads to result.
There is no doubt that the last month of 2010 has been rich in events, so I cannot help but mention them. The OSCE Summit in Astana saw Belarus setting the pace of reform while Minsk and Washington gave a statement regarding Belarusian-American interaction in nuclear non-proliferation, attracting the attention of journalists and political analysts. Observers in our country and abroad have assessed the backstage meeting in Astana between the US Secretary of State and Belarus’ Foreign Minister, as well as their joint statement on highly enriched uranium, as a true breakthrough. Experts believe that this has laid the foundations for a long-term process of rapprochement. Moreover, this will also promote the strengthening of Belarus’ role in the region and its movement towards the European Union and other neighbours.
Our bilateral relations with the USA have been in a frozen state for some time. We have been long pursuing a multi-vector foreign policy with an equal focus on various powers but, as far as the USA is concerned, we are beginning a new stage, driven by great opportunities for co-operation with the USA. These primarily tackle economic collaboration, which could inspire our two states’ rapprochement. However, the struggle against nuclear proliferation is a common priority for Belarus, Russia, the USA, China and many other countries. In this respect, Belarus may become an important model.
Belarus announced a range of other initiatives at the Summit in Astana. Minsk believes that the OSCE’s potential is yet to be fully realised, so serious reform is required, as noted in On the Way to Global Security.
An abundance of important events, rather than sideshows, enables us to make a preliminary foreign political review of the Year of the Tiger, whose major accent focused on economic interaction. It is inevitable that parallels can be drawn regarding Asian and Latin American economic ‘tigers’. This year, the Belarusian economy didn’t just withstand recession; it developed, making a true breakthrough in mutual relations. Foreign economic liaisons with such influential states as Brazil and China blossomed, as we explain in Year of Realised Possibilities.
Setting aside politics, the eve of the new year always makes us remember the inspiring sporting achievements of past months. Our Belarusian athletes have certainly claimed their fair share of renown, as described in Crystal Jingle of Victory.
We hope to welcome you again in 2011.
BY Viktor Kharkov,