F: Foreign relations
Foreign relations - Belarus and Russia have been close financial and diplomatic allies since the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia provides Belarus with raw materials and is working with Belarus on economic integration since 1996. The Union treaty, signed by Lukashenko and Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation, called for a greater cooperation in the realms of politics, social welfare and economic integration. The last major discussions about the union states took place in December 2006 inside Russia and January 2007 inside Belarus. The only thing Belarus does not wish to do is to completely give-up complete independence and become a subject of the Russia, according to a speech by President Lukashenko.
However, the ties between Belarus and the CIS has been strained recently because of the color revolutions that took place inside Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Despite the European Union travel ban on Lukashenko and top officials, Belarus has trade agreements with several EU member states. The neighboring Lithuania, Poland and Latvia also have trade agreements with Belarus.
Bilateral relations with the United States continued without problems until 1997, when the United States State Department began to issue grants to pro-democratization oriented NGOs and the Belarus Government also made it harder for US based organizations to carry out their duties. In 2004, the United States passed a bill called the Belarus Democracy Act, which allowed American resources to be spent on groups who promote democratic efforts and forbid American businesses to grant loans to the Belarusian Government, except for humanitarian purposes. Despite this, the two nations cooperate on issues dealing with human trafficking, technology crime, intellectual property rights and prevention of natural and man made disasters.
Belarus has been increasing cooperation with Middle Eastern and Asian countries. China and Belarus have been building ties, strengthened by the visit of President Lukashenko to China in October 2005. In the Middle East, Belarus has strong ties with Syria and considered by President Lukashenko as a key partner in the Middle East. Other than the CIS, Belarus has membership in the regional organizations Eurasian Economic Community and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In international organizations, Belarus has membership in the Non-Aligned Movement since 1998 and Belarus was one of the founder members of the United Nations in 1945.
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