Belarus hopes for ‘integration Prize’ when selling its assets
Belarus has announced conditions for the sale of shares in Mozyr oil refinery.
Their value has been assessed at USD 4 bln, and the buyer will provide guarantees of oil supplies to Belarus for 10 years. Belarus has inflated its conditions many-fold. The conditions put forward have meant to limit the range of potential buyers and imply an invitation to start negotiations. Privatisation (GrodnoAzot, MTS, Mozyr Oil Refinery) under the announced conditions is unlikely, but some ‘integration prize’ for the assets is feasible. Negotiations will intensify closer to the date Belarus is supposed to sign the oil supply agreement for H2 2014.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.