Europe politics: Quick View - Ukrainian and Belarusian presidents meet in Abu Dhabi

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Institution
Economist Intelligence Unit
Abstract
No abstract is available.
Topic
International Relations, Politics, News Analysis, Forecast
Political Geography
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus

Event

On November 2nd Alyaksandar Lukashenka, the Belarusian president, and Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, met in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to discuss economic and political ties, as well as the situation in eastern Ukraine.

Analysis

According to official communiqu├ęs of BelTA, the Belarusian state news agency, the discussion between the two presidents focused on bilateral trade, "social co-operation" (the topic of which has not been disclosed) and the demarcation of the border between the two countries. Since the beginning of the year, Ukraine and Belarus have strengthened their trade relationship. According to official Belarusian statistics, the trade turnover between Belarus and Ukraine increased by 23.2% year on year in January-August, with Belarusian exports to Ukraine increasing by 21.5%, to US$761m, and Belarusian imports from Ukraine increasing by 28.7%, to US$1.4bn. A business forum gathering representatives of Belarusian and Ukrainian regions is planned-at an unknown date-in the Belarusian city of Gomel.

In addition, the meeting helped Mr Lukashenka to reassert that he would personally help to mediate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine; in this regard, he said that he would respect "the course the two brotherly nations agreed upon earlier", which is a reference to the Minsk II peace process aimed at finding a solution to the conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. By hosting peace talks in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, Belarus has constantly been trying to boost its international status.

Mr Lukashenka and Mr Poroshenko had previously met in July, when Mr Lukashenka visited Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. For Ukraine, having a closer relationship with Belarus is a cheap and effective way to irritate Russia. For Belarus, developing ties with Ukraine acts as a reminder to Russia that Belarus enjoys a degree of autonomy and is not merely a Russian satellite. In addition, the strengthening of ties between Belarus and Ukraine helps Belarus to find new destinations for its exports.

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