Belarus and Europe are engaged in a dialogue on all topical and sensitive issues. Negotiations on a variety of topics will continue. On March 23, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with Andrea Rigoni - representative of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly.
Andrea Rigoni is the Rapporteur on Belarus of the PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. He arrived in Minsk to prepare a draft report on the situation in Belarus. It will include a new resolution of PACE.
The paper will be presented at a meeting of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in April, and its may be adopted at another session in June.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
First of all, I want to thank you for understanding the situation in Belarus, and you want to see positive things in any process. There are few such politicians today, because each pursues their own goals. You are pursuing a noble goal. You contribute to the rapprochement of positions of the most antagonistic forces. It is possible to say that Belarus and the European Union were such forces at one time.
It is very important that you understand in what situation Belarus finds itself today. We often say that you've been living in the current political system probably for several centuries, and we are still too young to work at your level. This is the first point. Secondly, we must understand that each state has its own specifics, so any policy, diplomacy, democracy must still be seen through the specifics of a particular state, including ours.
But, Mr Rigoni, the important thing is that we are in a dialogue on all issues that cause your and our concern. We are not sitting behind our own fence. We do talk, it's a big deal. The truth is born in dialogue and with time it will come to our relations too.
Andrea Rigoni, rapporteur of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:
I want to personally thank you for this meeting. It not only shows that you are open to dialogue, but also demonstrates a very warm and positive attitude of Belarus to the development of relations with the Council of Europe and Europe as a whole. My main task is to make this report honest and fair, so it's important for me to understand your country from the inside.
Belarus and the Council of Europe have made significant progress in relations over the past two years. This was noted by Andrea Rigoni on March 23 as he met with the chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly. Belarus is ready to develop cooperation with European structures, not only in the field of democracy and human rights. Mutual interest concerns economy, investment, fight against corruption and human trafficking.
Andrea Rigoni will also meet with Chairman of the Council of the Republic (the parliament's upper chamber), the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of justice, as well as the heads of the Constitutional Court and the Central Election Commission.