The Belarusian President is likely to be the only one who is already winning, regardless of the results of today’s meeting in Minsk.
Independent Newspaper writes this, noting that three high European officials are to arrive in the capital of Belarus, which has not happened since 2010, when EU Commissioner for Expansion Štefan Füle came to Minsk on the peak of ‘political thawing.’
While the sheer fact that the talks will be held matters to Ukraine and Russia, Belarus might extract everything from them. Amid the Ukrainian crisis Minsk sets its far-reaching goals, the experts say. “EU top officials have the opportunity to visit Belarus without worrying about contacting with Europe’s last dictator. This will be used for informal talks to continue the process of improving relations with the bloc,” Andrey Yahorau, Director of the Centre for European Transformation, told Belsat TV.
“It would be unjust to count on improved cooperation with united Europe only because Belarus has been chosen for this important summit,” political expert Andrey Fedorov believes. “However it undoubtedly offers certain opportunities.”
The EU tried to cool Minsk’s ardor, as they are attempting to increase the peacekeeping part of Belarus and their President. “Bilateral EU-Belarus relations will not be the subject of the meeting in Minsk,” stated Catherine Ashton’s official representative on Monday, when answering the question about the possibility of some bilateral meetings between EU officials and the representatives of the Belarus government of civil organisations. She reminded that Minsk’s intermediary mission had not changed the attitude of the EU towards the Belarus government.
Representatives of the Belarus opposition made an official statement on Monday regarding the August 26 meeting. Its main theses are: the territorial integrity of Ukraine has to be preserved, the conflict in Ukraine had been provoked by Russia, which should at least stop illegal weapons supplies to Ukraine to solve it. Meanwhile the Belarus opposition doesn’t think that the location for such a meeting was chosen well, claiming that this essentially legitimises the Belarus regime.