Mission is possible, with high praise

Diplomacy follows its own obligations and protocols. For example, an ambassador ‘officially’ begins their activity in a country only after presenting their credentials to the head of state. No such ceremony exists on leaving but Belarus has established its own tradition, with the President personally parting with those ambassadors he believes have worked hard to develop good mutual relations, with positive results.

Recently, Alexander Lukashenko addressed words of gratitude to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to Belarus, H.E. Mr. Paul Friedrich von Fuhrherr, praising his fruitful activity. “You’ve left a pleasant and significant legacy from your work in Belarus,” he said. “Openly speaking, unlike your colleagues — Western ambassadors — you’ve tried to help Belarus. You’ve always deeply penetrated each problem, doing everything possible to benefit the Belarusian nation. I’m very grateful to you for this. Your mission here aimed to strengthen friendship between Belarus and the Maltese Order. After eight years here, you’ve set a model for kind relations between us.”

The President thanked the diplomat for promoting Chernobyl programmes, health care and culture projects and those assisting children. Mr. Lukashenko noted that no political issues under his remit have been neglected by the diplomat and, where Mr. Fuhrherr has seen that he can help, he always has done. The President expressed his wish that all Western ambassadors work in a similar manner, establishing kind relations with Belarus.

The Maltese Order is an influential organisation in the Catholic world so Mr. Lukashenko mentioned Belarus’ interaction with the Catholic Church. “In honesty, we hoped to see more progress in co-operating with the Catholic Church. We believe more could be done to build relations between Belarus and Western Europe — disregarding the European Union, as we know who plays the key role there. We’d love to send this signal via you...,” he said.

“You have strong influence in the Holy See. There are many influential people there who should — at long last — look at relations with the country which has the second largest Catholic confession within the post-Soviet space, and whose kind people wish to live in peace and concord,” the President added. Mr. Fuhrherr admitted that he has formed a warm attitude towards the Belarusian nation and asserted that the Maltese Order has done everything possible to influence Belarus-West dialogue for the best. “Our Government’s task is to promote the use of dialogue to solve problems; we must talk to each other.”

The Ambassador also noted that no other post-Soviet country enjoys such good collaboration between the Orthodox and Catholic churches and the state. He expressed his assurance that the Maltese Order will play a positive role in relations between Belarus and Western Europe.

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