Dr. Andrei Fedarau at Georgetown on March 24th, 2009
U.S.-Belarus Relations: Current Issues & Future Directions
Tuesday, March 24th at 12pm, Room ICC 462
This talk will illuminate the current state of Belarus-US relations and consider possible scenarios for the future. The Republic of Belarus and the United States do not enjoy a positive diplomatic relationship. This is surprising, given the potential that existed in the early 1990s. The main reasons for the strained relations are the lack of democratic and market transformations in Belarus. Yet though many post-Soviet states can be described in this way, their relationship with US is not affected in this way.
Dr. Fedarau was awarded the PhD in Physics. He worked at the Institute of Physics of Belarus’ Academy of Sciences, then in the Supreme Council (parliament) of Belarus, as a head of International Relations Department. Since 1997, he has worked as an independent journalist and analyst of international relations and security.
No Agreement between EU Countries on Belarus
An interesting overview of divergences within the European Union on the Belarusian issue appeared in an article published by Radio Liberty Free Europe.
An interesting overview of divergences within the European Union on the Belarusian issue appeared in an article published by Radio Liberty Free Europe. The Dutch seem to be the most consistent in their demands of specific improvements from the Belarusian government, Poland and the Baltic states are concerned about Russia’s influence on Belarus, while Germany and France are driven by Realpolitik considerations:
Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhaegen, argued that the reforms undertaken by Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka are no more than window dressing.
The Netherlands wants the upcoming EU summit on March 19-20 to set out a list of clear conditions Belarus must meet before it can join the Eastern Partnership initiative, which will be unveiled at the same meeting.
One group of countries, led by Britain, Sweden and Poland, and the Baltic states, is naturally sympathetic to the Dutch concerns. But these countries also believe that the Russian factor means the stakes are high enough for the EU to justify a continued partial suspension of its standards in a bid to engage the Belarusian leadership.
Another camp of mostly Western European countries led by Germany and France is keen to establish the EU as an autonomous regional and global player. These countries have somewhat contradictory motives. Russia is certainly seen as a competitor, but the driving force for most in seeking dialogue with regimes like Minsk is a pragmatic preference for interests over values and a deep-seated skepticism for the utility of sanctions in this context.
Read full text at rferl.org