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Muttonen: Belarus is a bridge not only between East and West, but between states

Many of the 700 high-ranking foreign guests who came to Belarus to participate in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly would probably enjoy the Kupala holiday and, perhaps, even would not mind fire jumping. The OSCE is the world's largest regional security organization. And if we draw parallels with Kupalle, then we could say that Europe is already engaged in fire jumping joylessly and desperately. I mean the fire and flame of terrorist attacks, the fires of refugees and so on...

If we do not deal with the accumulated problems in Europe, then the problems will deal with us - this was the message of President Lukashenko during his speech to the delegates from 57 countries, who gathered in Minsk to attend the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. A grand forum, effective and sensational in some way! Yevgeny Pustovoi reports.

Minsk welcomes warmly the OSCE Parliamentary Session and the Belarusian leader meets - not less gallantly - the Parliamentary Assembly President. This bouquet did not get into news since there are enough of other reports these days. The President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Christine Muttonen, met with Alexander Lukashenko, and not for the first time.

Christine Muttonen, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly president:
An important matter is the atmosphere. We hope with your help to achieve active and confidential communication at the session so that parliamentarians can build an open dialogue.

Perhaps, the OSCE PA has remained the only platform for pan-European dialogue.

Christine Muttonen:
Minsk has long become a platform where important forums are held, where issues of peace-building are discussed. We already see Belarus not only as a bridge between East and West, but also between different states, that is already an important international platform.

Alexander Lukashenko now has a new image - a peacemaker who can diplomatically avoid the sharp edges of international conflicts.

The European melody needs a new key-note. Minsk may play a new role in what could become the 2.0 Helsinki process.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Our mother Europe was at the crossroads of problems. We, like an ostrich in the sand, hid our heads and pretended that nothing was happening. But we must take some serious decisions. And one of the directions of our activities is Helsinki v2.0. Ultimately, such a process would facilitate the conclusion of a global document by some of the world's leading powers. It would put an end to the long-overdue Cold War, excluding the possibility of its renewal and growing into a more tragic form. Taking into account our experience, and if it is necessary and if you approve of it, Belarus is ready to become a launching pad for the beginning of this process.

These days Minsk is hosting important people from whom we expect breakthroughs or some historical steps. Geneva, Vienna, Brussels... The capitals of the Old World are somewhat outdated. Too many disagreements sound there. International relations are symbols and details.

Zuzka Bebarová-Rujbrová, representative of the delegation of the Czech Republic:
I really liked the word of your President, Mr. Lukashenko.

Andrea Wiktorin, head of the EU representative office in Belarus:
Minsk is a wonderful venue for this meeting. The goal is to build a dialogue between countries. Belarus is suitable for this, because it is located in the center of Europe.

Nestor Shufrich, Member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine:
Minsk is a hope for peace in Europe. Therefore, it is absolutely logical that the most significant session of the OSCE PA is held in Minsk.

Why tie a Gordian knot to then chop it? Instead of the legendary Alexander of Macedon, the contemporary Alexander Lukashenko suggests not to play with swords. Instead of investing in the arms race we propose the development of economies.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Belarus is in favor of building a fair, predictable and reliable trade and economic architecture in Europe and in general in the Euro-Atlantic space. It is necessary to keep in mind the expansion of its format. Perhaps by connecting new members. Here I first of all mean the People's Republic of China.

The former architecture of the world order has outlived itself. A continental European-style renovation is required. But instead of it, the common European house continues to be torn apart by bloc thinking, fragmentary approaches and separatist moods. Even the stars of the EU flag start to go out. Europe is at the crossroads.

Alexander Lukashenko:

The main thing for parliamentarians is to discuss, to talk, to communicate. This is what we have mastered today. We raise questions, we debate, we communicate, we reason. And then what? Nothing. No actions! Therefore, when discussing the problems, it is necessary to outline the plan of action, taking into account the fact that we don't have much time for these actions.

The President's proposals have been heard. In the last days of the session in Minsk, the draft resolution on strengthening the role of the OSCE in countering terrorism was approved. Alexander Lukashenko also met with the USA delegation consisting of representatives of the Congress - the supreme legislative body of the United States.

Alexander Lukashenko:
There will be no obstacles for you. You can visit any point of our state, even the most closed one. We will arrange all this for you. We are ready to listen to any suggestions and comments, even reasoned criticism on your part. We will also be very open in our position towards the United States.

Roger Wicker, head of the US delegation to the OSCE PA, a member of the US Senate:
We were very pleased with your statements at the opening of the session. I can speak on behalf of all members of our delegation and the Parliamentary Assembly as a whole. I see certain opportunities for cooperation with the new Administration of Mr. Trump. I see excellent opportunities for positive changes and new joint achievements for the United States of America and the Republic of Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Every citizen in Belarus watches Euronews. All major channels of the Russian Federation are fully broadcast in Belarus. Human rights, the rule of law, democracy. We are doing everything to ensure that Belarus has as many of them as in other European countries.

Another red rag is the selectivity of election standards. Solomon's decision by Lukashenko is to create a European standard in the electoral process. Belarus also listens to the recommendations on the abolition of the death penalty. But one cannot go against the will of the people.

Alexander Lukashenko:
Many former parliamentarians insisted even before that the people in Belarus spoke about the abolition of the death penalty. We, as a young sovereign state, listened to your advice, took the issue to a referendum and got the result.

The rhetoric of the West towards Belarus is changing. And the Lithuanian attempt to push through its resolution against Belarus on an archaic basis failed.

Kent Härstedt, vice chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
This was done, because it was a confusion of two important topics. It was an unsuccessful combination, so the resolution was rejected. Moreover, we noted positive changes in the democratization of Belarus.

But the Belarusian resolution was much more relevant. The proposal was to fight psychotropics together and unify the legislation in this area.

Alexander Lukashenko's openness to dialogue was seen both in the official speech and in non-communal communication. Even here he had to return to Ukrainian issues.

The President had to depart from the working schedule - too many European MPs wanted handshakes and selfies with the Belarusian leader. Who knows, maybe it's historical footage. The beginning of a new path to peace in Europe.

Indeed, this is, to some extent, the victory of Belarus. At least this is a victory over prejudiced attitudes towards the country. However, the Minsk declaration may be in sync with the Minsk peace. Judging by the general mood, Europe loudly supported Belarusian initiatives with wide-open palms.

Muttonen: Belarus is a bridge not only between East and West, but between states