Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Minsk aspires to compensate for economic failures with foreign policy successes

Belarus in focus

Last week, President Lukashenka met with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. In addition, the president held talks with President Sergio Mattarella during a two-day visit to Italy. The Belarusian authorities aspire that the president’s official visit to Rome and the Vatican will open opportunities for expanding top-level political contacts with some EU countries, which are interested in cooperation with Belarus. Thanks to the Holy See, Minsk hopes to consolidate its image of a peacemaker and take the focus of the human rights issues in the Belarusian-European relations. In addition, the Belarusian authorities are hoping to organize the Pope’s visit to Minsk. The Belarusian delegation to Rome included representatives of all Christian confessions in Belarus. The Orthodox Church was represented by Archpriest Feodor Povny, known as Lukashenka’s personal confessor. There is no unity among analysts regarding whether the Belarusian Orthodox Church has coordinated its activities with the Russian Orthodox Church.