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Belarus President suggests Helsinki 2 process

Minsk is hosting a session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, also participated in the opening of the forum. Speaking about security, the Belarusian leader stressed that the European region was at the epicenter of problems and in order to avoid consequences, the states do need to address them in time.

The session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is held in Minsk for the first time. This year Belarus also presides over the Central European Initiative.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Unfortunately, our mother Europe faces a lot of problems which, we thought would not concern the European continent. The consequences of these problems are maybe not connected with Europe. But we are at the epicenter of these problems.

For example, there is a war that has engendered negative processes in the Middle East. It is not far away, but it's not Europe either. However, it's Europe that suffers the consequences like terrorism. Even the recent elections in the United States of America have influenced the European continent. Certain processes have begun to reformat our relations with the United States of America, US-European relations. And these processes are not easy. I am sure that Europeans and Americans will overcome all the negative aspects of these problems. Nevertheless, they exist.

Not solving the problems in Europe (many problems, the largest of them are Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh), we got our own conflict in the center of Europe - Ukraine. Therefore, the historicity of the moment lies in the fact that it is necessary to pay serious attention to problems. But it is very important to prioritize these problems. Finally, it is time to address seriously the serious problems that cannot be postponed any longer.

The acronym OSCE stands for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Security is probably the key word. However, in recent years, the organization has been more associated with election observation. Meanwhile the terrorist threat in the same Europe is steadily increasing. The European Union suffocates from migrants. One must hurry to solve the growing problems.

The need for prompt, timely action has become the leitmotif of the event. This topic was raised at a meeting of the Belarus President with Christine Muttonen. She has led the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly since July 2016. However, she is also an experienced MP. Mrs Muttonen has been in Austrian Parliament for 18 years.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Meeting with Mrs. Muttonen I heard her say that it takes time to solve certain issues. But we have very little time left. Life has changed, life is not what it was at the end of the last century, and everything is “compressed”. We do need time, but it must be understood that there is no time left to solve very important problems for the European continent.

Alexander Lukashenko:
The organization of security is unique. It must react to the acute moments in our region, to respond at the highest level, at the level of heads of state. But look how much negative things have happened recently in Europe. And what is the reaction of our heads of state? No reaction at all! The war is on. In Europe, there is no reaction. What does it mean? It means that we have problems in the organization. This concerns most of all the deputies. I am not talking about heads of state because we regularly discuss problems as part of our responsibilities. I would like the deputies to push heads of state to discuss these burning problems.

Christine Muttonen, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
We, as parliamentarians, are taking an active stand, openly discussing problematic issues, but an additional task for us is creating platforms so that the government of the states can continue the dialogue on topical issues. To date, we are very clearly aware that parliamentary diplomacy must actively develop. Today we increasingly note the blockade of the dialogue on the part of the governments of some states. Therefore, we are very pleased to hold the next session of our organization in Minsk, because the parliamentary delegation of Belarus to the OSCE has always been very active.

Alexander Lukashenko also met with the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the Austrian Foreign Minister, and talked about the need to work together on the problems of modern society.

Alexander Lukashenko:
As for our relations with Austria, they are the kindest.

On the eve of the meeting, I thought that you will go down in history as a person who restored relations with Austria.

Today's event of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly once again showed that we have many problems on which we must work.

The OSCE session is dedicated to strengthening mutual trust and cooperation for peace and prosperity in the region. The agenda of the session consists of the reports of three general committees: on political issues and security; on economic issues, science, technology and the environment; on democracy, human rights and humanitarian issues.

Sebastian Kurtz, OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria:
I consider a very important positive signal that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session is taking place in Minsk; I am glad that we have an opportunity to talk about bilateral relations between Belarus and Austria.

Alexander Lukashenko:
We suggest starting a discussion in the framework of the OSCE on the need to start the new Helsinki process. Ultimately, such a process would facilitate the conclusion by some of the world's leading powers of a global document. It would put an end to the long-overdue Cold War, excluding the possibility of its renewal and growing into a tragic form; it would indicate a strategic vision for new, constructive relations in the OSCE region.

We understand that it is not easy to formulate a model of such "Helsinki 2" that is acceptable for all parties.

Therefore, it is first of all important to define common goals aimed at strengthening confidence at least in political and military areas. Among them may be efforts in the fight against terrorism, reducing tensions and preventing military escalation, coordinating activities to regulate migration processes, and ensuring cybersecurity. We must respond to the challenges of our time.

Today it is important to stop geopolitical rivalry in the region, to abandon the creation of spheres of influence and the imposition of a certain model of the socio-political system. We all need the synchronization of integration processes and peaceful settlement of disputes.

More than 600 guests arrived in Minsk. The most representative delegations came from Russia, USA, Germany and Italy. The geopolitical situation in the region is changing rapidly. Against the background of these changes Belarus looks like a donor of European stability. Minsk conducts predictable internal and consistent foreign policy and it does not go unnoticed.

Peter Dettmar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to the Republic of Belarus:
It's my second time here. If I was not satisfied with the first one, I would not return. I like to be here and to work.

Vladimir Bozhko, deputy chairman of the lower chamber of the parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
Look, your crime rate is one of the lowest in Europe, you have order on the railways, in the cities. This is because you have proved by all your development that you are a respected European country.

Christopher Smith, Special Representative on Human Trafficking Issues, OSCE PA (USA):
Today we are working to achieve reforms, and the OSCE is dynamically developing in this direction. I support your President's initiative on the issue of reform.

At the end of the opening ceremony, parliamentarians from various countries surrounded the head of state and they had a casual conversation. Someone was in a hurry to make selfies, someone wanted to share their initiatives. Belarus remains a very important link between the West and the East. The summer session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will last until July 9. It is expected that the participants of the assembly will adopt the Minsk Declaration.

Belarus becomes platform for discussion of global problems in Europe