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Has Makei cast a spell on Western diplomats?
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Ever since it released important political prisoners in August 2015, the Belarusian government has rarely resorted to outright violence against dissidents. This paradigm shift facilitated the removal or suspension of most Western sanctions against Belarus. The parties were able...
17 February 2017
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Belarus’s neighbours: patronising and obliging – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

From January to early February 2016, Belarus and Lithuania drifted further apart as their diplomats exchanged tart-tongued statements over the safety of the Astraviec NPP and Belarus’s sovereignty. Alexander Lukashenka, who remains unwelcome in the EU, travelled to more...

31 January 2017
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Belarusian diplomacy in 2016 – annual foreign policy digest

In 2016, Belarusian diplomats succeeded in getting rid of most Western sanctions, improving the international legitimacy of the national parliament, regularising dialogue with Europe, and converting Poland from a strong critic into a good partner. Nevertheless, they failed to make...

22 November 2016
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No compromise between Belarus and Lithuania on Astraviec NPP

On 15 November, Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis presented his country's new energy strategy. Although it is not stated directly, the strategy strongly implies that Lithuania will not buy electricity from the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which will begin...

16 November 2016
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Three ‘thorns in the flesh’ of Belarus-Poland relations

Despite some recent positive trends in relations between Belarus and Poland, several unresolved issues hamper their full normalisation. Warsaw remains largely bound by the European Union’s official policy towards Minsk. The Belarusian authorities are suspicious of Poland’s support of democratic...

3 November 2016
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Trade and geopolitics to counterbalance Russia – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

With the summer holiday period finally over, Belarusian diplomacy has gone into overdrive. In September – October, Belarusian officials spoke with representatives of over thirty nations, ranging from deputy foreign ministers to heads of state. Poland has transformed from being...

20 October 2016
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Belarus and Poland: is the difficult period finally over?

Belarus and Poland are moving closer towards a rapprochement, with Belarusian foreign minister Vladimir Makei paying a working visit to Warsaw on 10 October. His Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, seems to have a personal affinity for Makei; Waszczykowski trusts that...

15 September 2016
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Belarusian MFA and the diaspora: a complicated relationship

Speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Council for Belarusians Living Abroad on 5 September in Minsk, Belarus's foreign minister Vladimir Makei sought support from the Belarusian diaspora in preserving the country's “independence, sovereignty and statehood”. This is a recent...

2 September 2016
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Central and Eastern European dimension of Belarusian diplomacy – Belarus foreign policy digest

In July and August, Belarusian diplomats kept busy reinforcing ties with the country’s partners in Central and Eastern Europe. These relationships may prove to be instrumental in bolstering Belarus's foreign policy positions. Foreign minister Vladimir Makei travelled to Kyiv in...

17 August 2016
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Why Does Europe Engage with Belarus’s Rubber Stamp Parliament?

On 2 – 4 August, Ryszard Terlecki, vice-speaker of the Polish Sejm, led the highest-level parliamentary delegation of an EU country to Minsk in twenty years. This visit is emblematic of the increasingly common nature of inter-parliamentary contacts between Belarus...