Despite the stifling temperatures, the political life of the country is seeing a high degree of activity, with the electoral campaign for the Presidential Election (the fifth in our country’s sovereign history) in full swing. Belarusians will be able to express their will on October 11th. We have never restricted the number of international observers at our elections, having over a thousand accredited in 2010. No fewer are expected this time. Materials dedicated to the pre-election topic can be viewed on this edition’s pages.
The capital of Russian Bashkortostan enjoyed a hectic few days in July, hosting the summits of the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. While Belarus itself is not a BRICS or Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member, it does enjoy close partner relations with almost all their participating states. As regards membership, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation is an expanded version of the Eurasian Economic Union.
In establishing this club, the focus was on interaction between states with the additional goal of strengthening regional security. Over the course of time, the regions involved have discovered many other spheres of mutual interest but they primarily aim at economic development. Since Belarus is playing an increasingly important role in these processes, its participation in inter-state dialogue seems logical and necessary. This topic is further explored in Worthy Place Among Influential Company.
The pragmatic and constructive position of Belarus within the international arena is receiving ever more attention from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is proved by a recent visit by its Chairman-in-Office. Our country has been a fully-fledged participant of Europe’s largest international organisation for 23 years, interacting with its institutes, so the visit is quite expected.
Belarus supports the OSCE’s primary role (fixed in the Charter of European Security) in settling conflict within the area of its responsibility. We respect the sovereignty and state integrity of the organisation’s member states. As a result, Minsk’s official foreign policy aims to develop dialogue, and our well-considered position on the Ukrainian issue is positively perceived by member states and by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office. "Reforms are a Progressive Phenomenon" is dedicated to the importance of reform within the OSCE.
Regular communication is the best path to mutual understanding. Three American congressmen recently arrived in Belarus for the first time and, although representing different political parties, shared common surprise at the extent to which our country is a civilised European state. All agreed that we are more forward-thinking than they had imagined and have returned home with a positive image of Belarus.
According to the American politicians, the enhancement of diplomatic ties — embodied by the return of a US Ambassador to Minsk, as well as a Belarusian Ambassador to Washington — will be the first step in this direction. The American congressmen also noted the contribution made by Belarus towards peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine. "Dialogue Creates Understanding" is based on the meeting between the American congressmen and Alexander Lukashenko.
The development of new business can be both beneficial and rewarding to net investors. Belarus has recently announced at the highest level that new businesses are to be welcomed with an attractive package of offers and privileges. This is justified by the need to awaken interest in investors and encourage them to place their money into Belarus. Participants of a round table discussion, organised by the editorial office, had the chance to outline favourable conditions for investors here.
The heat is no hindrance to business, especially when it’s worthwhile and beneficial.
By Victor Kharkov