Makey: Belarus has to be friends with everyone

Belarus has to “be friends with everyone” in order to “survive in the present-day situation that is characterized by a high level of confrontation,” Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey told reporters Tuesday in Minsk while speaking ahead of a seminar focusing on the Eastern Partnership program.

“This is our policy, this is one the basic principles of its multi-vector nature,” said the minister.

Mr. Makey said that the Eastern Partnership had produced certain results over its 10-year existence. “One of the main results is that we have managed to make our partners realize that the Eastern Partnership should not contribute to a deeper confrontation,” he said. “We see that in the last four to five years it has become more pragmatic, [more] focused on the achievement of specific results that could be understood by ordinary people.”

“Today we see that each country [involved in the Eastern Partnership] has its own objectives and specific tasks,” said Mr. Makey. “I think it is a good achievement that the Eastern Partnership has become an initiative where more attention is devoted to specific requests by a specific country. There are a number of specific projects that generate returns, including for our country. We have always argued that the Eastern Partnership should yield specific dividends for each state.”

He said that such projects included border infrastructure improvement, digitization and the development of trans-European transport links. “There are concrete results, although one would like there to be more of them,” he said.

Asked whether Russia was interfering with Belarus’ efforts to secure closer ties with the European Union, Mr. Makey noted that Moscow had started realizing recently that Belarus’ participation in the program was not directed against it. “At our most recent meeting, [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov and I spoke about the matter and agreed that Belarus’ intention to develop relations with the EU, which is its second-biggest economic partner next to the EAEU, is understandable and logical,” he said.