Aleksandr Lukashenko receives Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei

    Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko received Belarus’ Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei on 21 February.

     The head of state asked the Foreign Minister to inform him in short about the results of the work of the Foreign Ministry in view of a big meeting of heads of Belarusian diplomatic missions that will take place in the summer of 2014. “Time will come and we will thoroughly discuss the results of the work of the Foreign Ministry in the past year and overall,” the President noted.

     Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that the objectives of Belarusian diplomatic missions remain the same. “The major goal is promotion of our economic interests. Recently suggestions have been voiced to open a number of new embassies abroad. I do not mind it, but embassies should open only with this goal in mind. There is no need for us to engage in any global politics. Our politics is to promote economic cooperation with the countries where we have economic interests (related to the diversification of export and trade),” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

     The President wanted to know about the work to fulfill his earlier instructions, including instructions to promote Eurasian integration and to draft the Eurasian Economic Union treaty. Aleksandr Lukashenko asked to focus on problems in this field. “The process is a new one and it cannot be flawless. There is no avoiding some issues,” the head of state noted.

     Vladimir Makei informed the President about the positions of Belarus’ partners regarding the preparation of the Eurasian Economic Union treaty. The head of state was also informed about Belarus’ negotiations with Russia and Kazakhstan in view of Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO. The President gave specific instructions to work out Belarus’ stance on these matters to be discussed during the forthcoming session of the Troika due in mid-March.

     “Frankly speaking, I would like to hear out information about our work in the Western direction. I think we have no problems in the Eastern direction as a matter of principle,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. "Yesterday I spoke with the President of the Russian Federation three times. I think we will be able to schedule our meeting soon and discuss further joint actions in modern conditions,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

     The President reminded that Belarus is intent on pursuing a multiple-vector policy. “We will implement it. We do not need any problems in the West and even more so in the East. But it does not mean that we will deviate, try to bargain something, change our criteria and the policy. Our policy remains unchanged. It was declared in my State of the Nation Address,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

     Vladimir Makei reported that the Foreign Ministry held a session several days ago to review the results of the work and set goals for the current year. According to the Foreign Minister, half of about 50 Belarusian diplomatic missions failed to fulfill the targets associated with export growth and investments last year. “The work of the Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions was critically assessed. Soon the Foreign Ministry will issue an instruction containing these assessments and conclusions,” the Foreign Minister said.

     Speaking about Belarus’ relations with the European Union and the USA, Vladimir Makei noted that glimpses of some shifts had emerged. “We believe that no serious breakthrough has been reached because there are real obstacles in our relations, which, unfortunately, cannot be overcome within a day or a month, but we are beginning to see glimpses of shifts that give us hope for mending our relations with the European Union and the USA,” said the Belarusian Foreign Minister.

     Vladimir Makei also informed Aleksandr Lukashenko about the progress in preparing Belarus-EU agreements on facilitating visa regulations and on readmission.

     The head of state said that the Belarusian side is ready for an open and sincere dialogue with European partners, the USA but not at the expense of infringing Belarusian interests. “The Foreign Ministry will keep in mind the instructions of the head of state as guidelines. In the example of some neighboring countries we can see what the forbearance of radicalism and extremism on the part of some European partners of ours can produce,” said Vladimir Makei.

     Aleksandr Lukashenko set tasks and gave instructions on all the points of the agenda.