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French politicians hail Belarus' role in world politics ahead of OSCE PA session in Minsk

About 60 countries send their political representatives at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE in Belarus. This authoritative forum opens in Minsk in a few days. In the last program, politicians from Germany talked about this and today we will listen to what French MPs say. Belarusian embassy organized this week a performance in Paris during which the Belarusian anthem sounded near the Eiffel Tower. Our special correspondent Alena Syrova reports from Paris.

The heart of Paris, Trocadéro. For a few minutes, the usually bustling area literally froze listening to the rhythms of the Belarusian anthem.

For the third year, our country's embassy in France unites Belarusians living thousands of miles from their homeland on the eve of the Independence Day. Today Belarus is in the center of the world’s attention: Minsk will host the largest Forum for Security and Cooperation in Europe in a few days. This will happen at the time when a number of European countries, including France itself, is threatened by Islamists.

Alena Syrova, correspondent:
Security in Europe seems to have always been among the main topics. But the first and most unexpected terrorist attack in the series of attacks in Europe took place here, in the theater Bataclan. The terrible massacre was a bloody point of no return for the whole Old World. As a result today the fight against terrorism is number one topic in the agenda of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Minsk.

Yves Pozzo di Borgo is convinced that the future session will be rich in loud statements. He is one of the four French parliamentarians who will arrive in Minsk next week.

Yves Pozzo di Borgo, Senator of the French parliament from Paris:
Terrorism is an international problem. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, of course, will not resolve this problem but somehow we do arrive at a decision. And it is very symbolic that we will discuss the security of all of Europe, from Portugal to Vladivostok, at its very center - in Minsk.
Senator Yves Pozzo di Borgo says that politicians did not have that much interest in Belarus a few years ago.

Yves Pozzo di Borgo:
I do not think that Minsk has become a global platform for negotiations only on Ukraine. Minsk is resolving the most important conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Belarus has put in a lot of effort to resolve it. Of course, your country is now a little bit in the shadow of Russia. But understand: the relationship that today there are between the United States, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, and the relationship, which today, unfortunately, do not exist depend on what is happening in Minsk and on compliance with the Minsk agreements. Of course, Minsk is not a second Geneva, but today it is a very important center of diplomatic relations. Belarus now has a vital role in world politics.

Pavel Latushko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to France:
Two weeks ago, one of the most influential French newspapers Le Monde diplomatique published an article "Peace in Europe depends on Belarus". They do make such a conclusion. Belarus suffered greatly during the war of 1812, we suffered greatly during the first and second world wars, and that Belarus will do everything to prevent the expansion of the conflict, Belarus will work to ensure that there is peace and harmony in our region. The influential French newspaper come to such a conclusion.
Director of the French branch of the Associated Press Angela Charlton, experienced political observer, thinks that a significant improvement in bilateral relations may follow the Parliamentary Assembly in Minsk.

Angela Charlton, head of the French branch of Associated Press:
The decision to cooperate is a symbol of teamwork.

In terms of cooperation, we really have space to work - recently, Belarus and France have signed an agreement between the defense ministries and these days the economic and cultural potential of Minsk is being presented in Lyon.

While Belarus is not that much known from tourist and industrial point of view, the French do know about Belarus in terms of diplomacy. At least this is the point of view of Yvan Blot - a former member of parliament and presidential adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy.

Yvan Blot, expert and former advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy:
Even the most fierce opponents are able to find the common language in Minsk. When choosing the venue for the session, the world situation became so tense that Belarus turned out to be the best place to address the pressing political issues - not only a geographical bridge between East and West. You, more than anyone, know the value of peace.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE will complete its session in Minsk on July 9.

French politicians hail Belarus' role in world politics ahead of OSCE PA session in Minsk