Taken from the Annual Review of Foreign Policy of the Republic of Belarus and Activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2015
The Belarusian diplomatic service focused its efforts on comprehensive and effective promotion of national interests, provision of a substantial contribution to strengthening of regional security, and elimination of sanctions and restrictive measures, which had prevented the development of mutually beneficial relations of Belarus with foreign partners.
The 2015 elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus took place in a calm and businesslike atmosphere. Constructive cooperation was ensured with international observers from OSCE, CIS, PACE, SCO and other international organizations and research centers (represented by over 900 observers).
The protection of the rights and interests of Belarusian citizens abroad remained in the very spotlight of the Foreign Ministry’s attention. Belarus sought to deliver its contribution to solving global problems, addressing modern challenges and threats, and traditionally actively participated in the activities of the UN and other international organizations.
Belarus consistently facilitated the de-escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, based on genuine interest in its swift resolution. As of today, the agreements reached at the Normandy Four Summit in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, are an internationally recognized tool for solving the conflict through political and diplomatic means.
The Belarusian side ensured all necessary conditions for regular meetings of the trilateral contact group on Ukraine and its thematic working groups. Belarus remains firmly committed to the peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, which will be facilitated by strict implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties.
Positive dynamics of the step-by-step process of normalization of relations with the European Union and the United States of America was reinforced with the suspension of the restrictive measures against Belarus, making it possible to significantly increase the intensity of contacts at various levels.
In a joint constructive effort with the United States of America, Belarus continued seeking opportunities for further normalization of the dialogue. Bilateral cooperation in trade, science and technology was actively developed, while humanitarian contacts witnessed further expansion.
On May 9th, 2015, the U.S. Air Force in Europe Band participated in the Victory Day celebrations in Minsk, paying tribute to the common history and relations of the Allies during World War II.
In August 2015, a United States Congressional delegation visited Belarus and was received by the Head of State.
In October 2015, the United States provided sanctions relief for a number of Belarusian petrochemical enterprises. The two sides conducted expert consultations on bilateral relations, regional cooperation, human rights, human trafficking, fight against cybercrime and terrorism, and Belarus’s accession to the WTO.
The first Honorary Consuls of the Republic of Belarus in the United States were appointed in Texas and Florida.
To capitalize on the progress made, Belarus is interested in bringing sustainability into the process of normalization of its relations with the United States.
The visit of the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to the UN Summit in New York became the year’s central event of the multilateral track. The UN Sustainable Development Agenda adopted for the next 15 years complies with the National Sustainable Development Strategy of the Republic of Belarus until 2030, and corresponds to national needs.
The conceptual speech delivered from the UN rostrum by the Belarusian Head of State gave a possibility to focus attention of the international community on fundamental problems of the current crisis phenomena, to present views on how to achieve real sustainable development, and to emphasize approaches of the Republic of Belarus to the principles of international dialogue, taking into account a diversity of ways towards progressive development.
On the sidelines of the UN Summit, the President met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Belarus continues to promote initiatives within the UN on combating trafficking and human organs, proposals to the sustainable energy agenda, and issues of the middle-income countries and a traditional family
Youth issues were further promoted on the UN agenda, in the context of traditional family values, with 2015 declared the Year of Youth in Belarus.
At the 70th UN anniversary, Belarus fully committed to the organization’s principles and conducted a number of significant symbolic events. In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of V-day (World War II), the President of the Republic of Belarus took part in the ceremony of planting a Tree of Peace and Sustainable Development in a Minsk park. Upon the initiative of the Belarusian side, a symbolic ceremony of planting a Tree of Peace and Unity dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazism was held at the UN headquarters in New York. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon participated in this ceremony. There was also the launch of a special train, The UN Express in Belarus to Support the Sustainable Development Goals, which had travelled through all the regions of Belarus and became a unique and remarkable project.
During Russia’s leadership in BRICS (association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Belarus initiated a special high-level meeting of the Heads of the member states as a side event the 7th BRICS Summit (July). The President of the Republic of Belarus took part in that event.
The Belarusian side actively interacted with other states, while preparing for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Belarus was elected to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors. Four national projects, regarding infrastructure development issues, nuclear power engineering personnel training, use of nuclear technologies in medicine and overcoming the Chernobyl disaster consequences, were included into the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Program for 2016-2017.
Minsk became a place for a number of major international forums. In October, for the first time, Belarus hosted the so-called Technical Olympiad – the 79th General Assembly of the International Electro technical Commission (IEC). Heads of the 29 IEC national committees and more than 1200 delegates from leading world companies attended the event.
In April 2015, at the Foreign Ministry’s initiative, there was a major international conference in Minsk called Innovative Industrial Development of Middle-Income Countries in Europe and Central Asia. The forum was attended by the UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, and representatives of 25 counties and seven international organizations.
Belarus continued the practice of accession to important international human rights instruments, in order to develop its national policy. In 2015 the President of Belarus signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
During the 38th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2015, Belarus promoted its priorities in all areas of its UNESCO activities, which were included in the UNESCO budget for 2016- 2017 and subsequently adopted.
The 250th anniversary of our prominent compatriot Michal Oginski, who was a diplomat, composer, writer and a public figure was included into the UNESCO Memorable Dates Calendar. For this occasion, France and Belarus held a number of memorial events that attracted attention from the international community.