MINSK, 20 December (BelTA) - Belarus will significantly reduce its diplomatic presence in Western Europe and increase its presence in the CIS, China, and distant countries, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei told the media following the meeting with the president, BelTA has learned.
"We are significantly reducing the diplomatic presence in European countries. I do not mean that we are reducing the number of embassies and missions. We are cutting down on the number of diplomatic personnel. But we are redeploying them to other areas of work, to other countries where they will be needed, for example the CIS countries. We are increasing the number of personnel of a number of embassies and stepping up our diplomatic presence in the distant countries,” the minister said.
According to him, Belarus will reinforce its diplomatic presence in the countries that are its strategically important partners, for example, China and India. "We are thinking about opening new embassies in Africa, in the countries that are both solvent and where the demand for our goods is high," the minister said.
Speaking about the reasons for the planned restructuring, he said: “The situation along the borders of Belarus is radically changing. The world, as a whole, is changing. There are many new challenges and threats, including to our country, which we need to respond to.”
"Belarus is faced with the serious sanctions pressure. This also makes an impact on the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign missions. We see that, unfortunately, the level of interaction between our embassies and the ministries of foreign affairs of the host countries has decreased. This applies primarily to Western Europe. At the same time, there is a need to step up our work in other countries," the minister said.
Changes are also planned in the structure of the central office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to reinforce the foreign economic and outreach lines of work. Soon the ministry will launch a China department, which will be in charge of cooperation with that country, which is a trading, economic, strategic partner for Belarus.
Proposals were also made to the president regarding some appointments at the management level in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and on the appointment of heads of a number of missions abroad. "All proposals have been generally supported. A formalized concrete decision will be made soon. This requires time as we need to request agremans for certain positions, to conduct legal procedures," Vladimir Makei explained.
He added that the planned changes will be carried out as soon as possible. "Before the new year, we will pass an appropriate resolution to carry out the reshuffle. Such powers have been delegated by the president to the minister of foreign affairs. There are no plans to increase the staff of the MFA" the minister said.
According to him, despite the changing situation, the requirements for diplomats remain the same: professionalism, loyalty to duty and the Fatherland, state approach to business.