Further-eastern European Time UTC+03:00
Capital City Minsk
Currency Belarusian ruble BYR
National Day July 3
His Excellency Sergei Aleinik arrived in London in February with his wife and youngest son. The couple’s elder son works and lives in Minsk. Mr Aleinik has visited many countries around the world, but he already feels like he is going to find London one of the best cities to work and live in: ‘the city is like a book that can never be read to the end.’
Growing up in Belarus, he started his career as a linguist, lecturing in German. During the first years of Belarus’ independence in the early 1990s, he undertook postgraduate studies in International Relations at The Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria, which Mr Aleinik says ‘predetermined my future diplomatic career.’ His first posting was as a Consul in The Hague in 1995. He then became the Chargé d’Affaires in the Netherlands, before progressing to the rank of Ambassador to the United Nations Office in Geneva, the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta.
From 2009, Mr Aleinik was the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus, primarily in charge of bilateral relations with the countries of Asia, Africa, and North and South America. His key focus was to broaden the geography of Belarus’ diplomatic presence by opening new embassies – for example, in Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and Ethiopia. He was also deeply involved in maintaining Belarus’ positive interaction with the UN and other international organisations, including international financial institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Mr Aleinik is proud of the important initiatives which Belarus’ UN membership has marked in the past few years: the recognition of the diverse means of progressive development, the establishment of a Global Partnership against Slavery and Human Trafficking, the addressing of energy-related issues, and the increased role of mid-income countries in sustainable development.
Now in London, his main plans and priorities are to build on the solid relationship between Belarus and the UK by strengthening the countries’ friendly ties ‘in all spheres of mutual interest, including politics, trade, economy, science, education and culture.’ Commenting on the UK’s status as a top ten trading partner, and also as the second largest foreign investment partner for Belarus, Mr Aleinik correspondingly highlights the need to ‘further enhance the level of intergovernmental and business contacts between our two countries.’ He points out that despite the world’s financial crisis, Belarus’ trade with the UK has only become stronger.
Yet another vital issue also binds UK-Belarusian relations: the maintenance and strength of bilateral humanitarian cooperation. ‘My country is grateful to the British people and the UK government for providing substantial assistance in mitigating the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident,’ Mr Aleinik says, ‘and especially for the programmes of vital medical treatment and recuperation for children from the contaminated areas of Belarus.’
He believes that Belarus’ major diplomatic goal is to strengthen its sustainable development and macro-economic stability. Mr Aleinik is well positioned to coordinate efforts with regards to this, having served as the Vice-Chairman of the Economic Commission for Europe of the UN (Geneva, 2003-05). Citing Belarus’ promising geographic location at the crossroads between East and West, and its fruitful relationship not only with its traditional eastern trading partners – Russia, the Customs Union and the CIS countries – but also with the EU, he trusts that Belarus is in an excellent position to increase its economic potential. By strengthening his country’s ties to the UK, Mr Aleinik also intends to build on mutually beneficial ties with a wider international community: ‘Here in London, you have ample opportunities for the strengthening of bilateral linkages and the promotion of national interests, internationally.’
With such a clear statement of objectives and such superb credentials, Mr Aleinik can look forward to a highly rewarding and productive term in London.