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Is Belarus Coming Out of Isolation?
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On March 3, in Moscow, Russian president Vladimir Putin presented his Belarusian counterpart Aliaksandr Lukashenka with the Order of Aleksandr Nevsky award. Ostensibly it marked his work in international cooperation in the service of the Russian Federation, linked perhaps...
25 February 2015
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A ‘Nice Dialogue’ with Europe, Befriending Middle East Hardliners – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Shortly after welcoming French and German leaders to Minsk, Alexander Lukashenka received EU emissaries from Riga and Brussels. He reassured Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs of Belarus' interest in getting closer to Europe, primarily due to its technologies and...

11 February 2015
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Belarus Welcomes Top EU Leaders: A Rare Show

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine agreed to hold peace talks in Minsk on Wednesday, 11 February, in an effort to avert a full-scale war in Ukraine. The last German and French leaders to visit Minsk were Adolph...

19 January 2015
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Belarus-EU Visa-Free Travel: An Unrealistic Prospect?

The EUobserver reported last week that Belarus might start talks over a visa-free regime with the EU, citing senior officials from the Latvian EU presidency. Many Belarusians reacted to this statement with expressions of surprise, satisfaction and hope,...

8 January 2015
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Belarusian Diplomacy in 2014: Laying the Groundwork for 2015?

In 2014, Belarus lost its title as Europe's last dictatorship and Minsk offered up its name for the peace process in Ukraine. Belarus' self-inflicted isolation from the international democratic community has been seriously eroded but not definitely broken. Belarus' response...

12 December 2014
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Getting Rid of the Pariah Status, Complaining about Russia, Protecting Conservative Values – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

The days when Belarus was a pariah at most European diplomatic gatherings appears to be a thing of the past. During his recent trips to Vienna and Basel, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei met with a dozen of his counterparts from...

24 November 2014
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Less Overt Support for Ukraine, Lukashenka Takes Pity on Putin – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Gunnar Wiegand, the top EU official for the CIS region, visited Minsk last week to continue active dialogue on modernisation. His unexpected avoidance of Belarus' titular opposition raised concerns in their ranks about a possible shift in policy in...

5 November 2014
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Ice Hockey Diplomacy in The Desert, Sanctions and Human Rights Criticism – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Alexander Lukashenka spent five days in Abu Dhabi meeting with local officials at various levels, managing to get in a game or two of hockey and some sightseeing as well. A UN report presented on 28 October harshly criticised the...

16 October 2014
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Belarus At The United Nations: Resentment, Bragging And Anti-Western Rhetoric

Three weeks ago Belarus Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei presented the country's multilateral initiatives in the general debate of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. The United Nations remains Belarus' preferred tool for promoting its foreign...

13 October 2014
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Belarus OKs European Integration of Moldova, Offers to Promote China in Europe – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka, unlike his Russian counterpart, sees no immediate problems for Belarus in Moldova's association with Europe. However, he is dissatisfied with the existing level of trade and investments in Belarus' relations with most CIS...

24 September 2014
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Securing Borders, Rediscovering Africa, Restoring Ties With The West – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

On 21 September the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the important and constructive role played by Minsk in diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis at his meeting in New York with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich....

3 September 2014
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Talks with Neighbours and the EU, Ties with Iraq – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

The gathering on the Ukrainian crisis meditated by Belarus and held on 26 August in Minsk became one of the most important recent global events. The Belarusian government tried to make maximum use of this opportunity to promote its own...

26 August 2014
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Lukashenka – the Main Beneficiary of the Ukraine Talks in Minsk

On 26 August, Minsk was the centre of attention for the international community, attracting hundreds of international reporters. The Belarusian authorities hosted a meeting between the Eurasian "troika", the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and three EU commissioners. The very fact...

4 August 2014
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Combatting Human Trafficking: Belarus Leads International Efforts

On 30 July, the Belarusian foreign ministry held a large-scale commemoration of the first World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Belarus prides itself upon being the driving force of multilateral efforts to combat this modern offshoot of slave trade. In fact,...

31 July 2014
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Belarus Seeks to Host Ukraine Talks, Liberalise Visa Regimes, Reform EaP – Belarus Foreign Policy Digest

President Alexander Lukashenka instructed his ambassadors to prepare to withstand and counter soft-power pressure from global players, a category that implicitly includes Russia. Meanwhile, Minsk is getting ready to host talks between the parties in conflict...