Belarus continues efforts to improve relations with the West
By Dzianis Melyantsou
Given the lack of progress in resolving disputes with Russia, the Belarusian leadership continues to make significant efforts to normalize relations with the West.
High-level communication with the United States continued. As part of his visit to Germany to participate in the Munich Security Conference, Foreign Minister Makei held a side-meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs Clark Cooper. According to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, the parties discussed a wide range of issues, including international and regional security matters and the development of the Belarusian-American dialogue.
Last week, the issue of American energy resources for Belarus gained traction. On February 12th, the US ambassador to Lithuania Robert Gilchrist, in an interview with the Baltic news agency BNS, expressed hope that the United States would supply gas to Belarus through the Klaipeda terminal for liquefied natural gas. According to Gilchrist, this issue had already been discussed in Washington with his colleagues from the US State Department.
On February 12th-13th, 2020, the head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs visited Belarus for the first time in the history of bilateral relations. He met with Lukashenka and Makei and attended the opening ceremony of the Swiss Embassy in Belarus. The Belarusian president said during the talks, that Belarus was ready to ensure the most favorable investment environment for the Swiss business.
Last week, an inaugural meeting of the Belarus-Germany Strategic Advisory Group was held in Berlin, which was envisaged to become the new format of bilateral dialogue aimed at developing a vision for further improvement of relations and identifying concrete steps in priority areas. The group was created further to previous agreements between the Foreign Ministers of Belarus and Germany achieved in October 2019. The Strategic Advisory Group is comprised of members of the governments, parliaments, economic, scientific and public sectors of the two states.