Uladzimir Makey is not the person who can help improve Belarus’ relations with the West, political analyst Raman Yakawlewski told BelaPAN on Monday, commenting on the appointment of Mr. Makey, formerly head of the Presidential Administration, as foreign minister instead of Syarhey Martynaw.
"This is because of the fact that Makey, unlike Martynaw, is on the list of individuals barred from entering the European Union,"Mr. Yakawlewski explained.
"After the government’s crackdown on political opponents in late 2010 and early 2011, Martynaw was in fact the only high-ranking Belarusian official not subjected to EU sanctions. As they said, that was done to maintain at least minimal contact with Minsk," Mr. Yakawlewski said.
"The appointment of a man barred from entering to EU as foreign minister suggests that one should hardly expect changes in Belarus’ foreign policy," he said. "It is difficult to see in Makey a person who will hold a round of dialogue with the West, although he and Martynaw performed this role rather successfully prior to the 2010 presidential election."
Mr. Yakawlewski also said that the appointment of Mr. Makey would unlikely foil Brussels’ plans with regard to Minsk. "I don’t think Makey will be better negotiator than Martynaw in this respect," he said.
Mr. Yakawlewski noted that the appointment came after a visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Minsk. "On the other hand, as far as I know, Makey was not welcomed in Moscow, where he was viewed as a sort of pro-Western person in Lukashenka’s entourage," he said.