Myanmar and Belarus Fortify Diplomatic Bonds Amid Global Isolation
Establishment of Myanmar’s Consulate in Belarus
Myanmar’s military regime, recognized as one of the world’s most isolated and restricted regimes, has recently fortified its diplomatic ties with Belarus, an Eastern European country known for its close connections with North Korea and Russia. This move took the form of a consulate establishment in Belarus. The consulate, opened on September 15, is the latest of 18 that Myanmar has established worldwide, signifying a strategic step towards enhancing the bilateral relationship.
The opening ceremony was graced by Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Than Swe, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Evgeny Shestakov, and several diplomats and officials from Belarus. Belarus had appointed an ambassador to Myanmar the previous year, further cementing the growing diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Belarus and Russia: Major Arms Suppliers to Myanmar
Before his visit to Belarus, Than Swe visited Russia, another significant arms supplier to Myanmar. The regime has already opened consulates in St Petersburg and Novosibirsk, Russia’s third-largest city. This connection is not without controversy, as the US has previously sanctioned three Myanmar nationals for brokering Russian arms via Belarus.
Historically, both Russia and Belarus have showed support for the Myanmar regime, especially at the United Nations. Neither country has condemned the military coup in Myanmar, which has further isolated the Southeast Asian nation from the rest of the world. During his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Than Swe expressed gratitude for Russia’s unwavering support at the UN.
Strengthening Bilateral Cooperation
On September 15, Than Swe discussed several areas of bilateral cooperation with Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik. These areas include trade, economy, science and technology, education and culture. Mutual appreciation for each other’s support at the UN was expressed by both ministers, highlighting the shared political views and strategic interests of the two countries.
Myanmar’s regime leader Min Aung Hlaing previously met with President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus in 2004, underlining the long-standing ties between the two countries. During the conflict involving Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Myanmar demonstrated its support for Russia, and Belarus allowed Russian troops to cross its border, further stressing their shared political leanings.
Sanctions and International Isolation
Both Belarus and Myanmar face international isolation due to their controversial political actions. The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Belarus for alleged electoral fraud and complicity in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In response, Lukashenko called for an alliance between Russia, North Korea, and Belarus, further isolating these nations from the international community.
As the world continues to watch the developments in these isolated states, the fortified ties between Myanmar and Belarus serve as a reminder of the complex web of international relations that shape global politics.
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