Belarus MFA: Cooperation with Russia could have been more effective

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus published its annual review of the results of foreign policy and the ministry’s activities.

According to the review, Belarus is committed to a ‘strategic partnership with the Russian Federation’; the presidents of Belarus and Russia have held 10 meetings over the past year. At the same time, Belarus continued to build up a dialogue with the European Union, the United States and other Western countries.

Belarus and Russia remain important trade partners. In 2018, Russia accounted for nearly half of Belarus foreign trade (38.4% in total exports from Belarus and 59.9% in total imports to Belarus).

Cooperation in various fields could have been more effective if there were equal business conditions, access to goods and services markets, solution of problem issues on oil and gas markets, removal of problems in the field of agricultural products supply, adjustment of Belarus-Russia border crossing regime by third countries citizens, the Belarusian side stressed.

Negotiating the agreement on mutual recognition of visas is in ‘closing’ stage. The document was to be signed on December 12 in Brest, but it turned out that it had not been received approval in Belarus.

As for the European Union, the relations continued to show ‘positive dynamics’ and were ‘intensive’ both in terms of the number and the level of visits and political contacts, e.g. EU Commissioners’ visits to Belarus; Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey’s talks with Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn in Brussels; EU-Belarus Coordination Group’s functioning.

“Negotiations on EU-Belarus Partnership Priorities approached final stage. They will become a “roadmap” for cooperation in 2019 – 2020 in four areas: strengthening of public administration system; economic development and market opportunities; transport communications, energy, environment and climate as well as human contacts. Negotiations with the EU on visa facilitation and readmission agreements entered the closing phase,” the report reads.