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Friday, 13 March 2009

Puzzle of The Day

RFE/RL: EU officials were left scratching their heads on March 11 when Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka unexpectedly cancelled a key meeting with the bloc's external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, in favor of a snap trip to Armenia. [...]

The Belarusian leader's decision to stand up Ferrero-Waldner is all the more puzzling as the EU is less than a week away from a summit at which it is expected to invite a group of six ex-Soviet neighbors -- including Belarus -- to join its Eastern Partnership program.

The Eastern Partnership plan is meant to offer funds, free trade, and visa-free travel to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus.

The inclusion of Belarus in the partnership initiative is considered critical in Brussels, where it is viewed as a vital element in the bloc's drive to steer its neighbors away from Russia and closer to the EU. [...]

Diplomats in Brussels say that the need to include Belarus is being seen as relatively uncontroversial by a majority of member states. All agree that Minsk's isolation has not produced results. And without Belarus, the Eastern Partnership would lose much of its regional clout.

However, there have been signs in recent weeks that Minsk may be having second thoughts. [...]

Presidential website in Armenia says:

"By the invitation of the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko is arriving today to Armenia on a working visit. In the framework of the visit Serzh Sargsyan and Alexander Lukashenko will discuss issues pertaining to the deepening of the bilateral interstate relations, further expansion of trade and economic relations, cooperation in the framework of international organizations and structures, as well as the means to address challenges triggered by the global and financial crisis in their national economies.The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko will also meet with the representatives of the business circles of Armenia."

*photo - president.am

13 comments:

Ani said...

Such an intense, working visit between two "leaders":

www.charter97.org/en/news/2009/3/13/16120/

The visit of the Belarusian dictator to Armenia in reality has become a continuation of his vacation, which started in Serbia at Kopaonik resort. Now Lukashenka is skiing in the town of Tsakhadzor.

But president’s servants have drawn certain conclusions from the visit to Kopaonik, and the visit to the mountain resort of Tsakhadzor was masked more carefully.
[...]
In the Armenian airport Zvatrnotz Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan personally came to the ramp when the leader of the Belarusian state came out of the plane with his youngest son Nikolay and bread and salt where presented to them. A short conversation of Lukashenka and Sargsyan took place in the airport. Since that time it was the only conversation of the “working” nature of the visit to Armenia.

As “Belorusskiye novosti” has found out, directly from Yerevan Lukashenka went to the town of Tsakhadzor, 55 km from the Armenian capital. He stayed in five-star hotel complex Multi Rest House. He plans to stay there till Sunday. At least, the rooms for Belarusian guests had been reserved till March 15.
[...]
By the way, the press-service of Armenian president does not have information whether Lukashenka and Sargsyan are to meet again. According to the spokesperson of the Belarusian president, Pavel Lyohki, Lukashenka to return to Minsk “not earlier than tomorrow”. “There still will be meetings in Armenia,” he noted.
[...]

artmika said...

So, this is effectively a 'vacation', rather than a 'working visit', as stated by the presidential website. Hilarious. Thanks for the link.

nazarian said...

:) It is hilarious. SS will put another check mark for a foreign dignitary visit.

Ani said...

Yeah, and here I thought they were planning their Russian Unification strategy. He probably spent more time skiing with Kocharian than shaking hands with Sargsyan. Well, there's always the departure lounge at Zvartnots to chat in. The EU lady must be feeling particularly warm towards these two about now.

Ani said...

When in doubt, use the kid for a prop: www.charter97.org/en/news/2009/3/16/16199/

Lukashenka took his son Kolya along for meeting with Armenian president (Video)

ONT TV channel showed meeting of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan. The Belarusian ruler was holding his youngest son in his arms.

A report about the talks was shown on March 13–14. The child was looking at the camera with no emotions on his face while his father was talking with the Armenian president.
[...] (YouTube link embedded)

artmika said...

I never seen anything like this before!! :)

Ani said...

In today's explanation of his trip, Lukashenka explained that he was meeting with possible investors for Belarus--apparently, in other words, Armenian oligarchs can invest in Belarus, instead of in Armenia(?):

http://naviny.by/rubrics/inter/2009/03/18/ic_news_259_308146/
[...]
The Belarusian leader said that he had had talks with Armenian businesspeople as well.

“It is high time to attract investors purposefully, in a pinpointed way,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “It is necessary to understand that it is meaningless today to engage in general talks about investment as was the case before the global financial crisis.”

He expressed the opinion that Belarus had a favorable investment climate, but potential investors should be ready to comply with specific conditions.

“We are telling them that they should not hope that they will come and we will give them factories and plants for a song,” he said. “To participate in privatization here, one should earn trust. Come here and show what you can. Work for three years, for instance. Prove that you are the best. Perhaps, we will begin privatization and you will have an advantage.”

Russian Criminal Tattoo said...

Belarus can save sniper=)

artmika said...

I do not agree with a concept of 'sniper as a saviour'. If we condone one, there will always be a new sniper waiting out there for a new job...

Ani said...

More about the Lukashenka-Sargsyan meeting, it just keeps getting juicier:

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/06/belarus-nikolai-lukashenko

Belarus squirms as son follows in dictator's steps
[...]
Observers say Lukashenko, 54, described by the US state department as "Europe's last dictator", may be using Kolya to shatter his hard-man image as Belarus attempts to forge closer ties with the EU.

Last month the boy accompanied his father, a burly former collective farm manager with a comb-over, on a state visit to Armenia. Television pictures showed Lukashenko jiggling a blank-eyed Kolya on his knee during a meeting with the president, Serzh Sarkisyan, who could scarcely conceal his discomfort at the improbable scene.
[...]
While the president's wife Galina has never been seen in public with her husband, the couple have two sons, Viktor and Dmitry, both in their 20s. Kolya, however, is Lukashenko's son by his personal doctor, Irina Abelskaya, as he admitted last year.
[...]

artmika said...

Thanks for this 'juicy' update, Ani :)

Ani said...

Lukashenka met with the Pope today--do you think he brough along his illegitimate son to that meeting too? ;) http://tinyurl.com/d8vpo6

artmika said...

Do not forget that the Pope has Berlusconi at 'home'. :)