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Roberto Montella sums up 26th session of OSCE PA in Minsk

The CTV Channel did not miss the opportunity to ask a few questions one of the key people in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Roberto Montella is its general secretary. For almost 20 years, Mr. Montella has been working in various structures of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This is not his first visit to Belarus.

Roberto Montella, Secretary General of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
Thank you so much for inviting me. I am very pleased to see that so much has been done. I would like to note that in Belarus there are a lot of representatives of different countries, from Russia, from the USA, from other countries. Of course, in order to better understand what is happening in Belarus, what is the current situation in Belarus, it is worthwhile to come and assess this situation by yourself, and form your own opinion. Thank you very much for the work of the parliament, for the work of the leadership.

We are very pleased with the level of this event and with the fact that opinions are openly expressed here. Belarus is really becoming a platform for such forums and such meetings.

On behalf of the OSCE, we declare that this is a huge success for Belarus. Minsk at the moment is becoming an international center for the solution of political and other aspects.

Mr. Montella, one of the initiatives that was voiced by Belarus is to restart or launch a new Helsinki process. What do you think about it? Could Belarus become a starting point of this process?

Roberto Montella:
I believe that this is quite an impressive statement, which was voiced by President Lukashenko. I would like to note that the OSCE now has some problems with regard to leadership. The very statement of Mr. Lukashenko gave a new look, a new impetus to the development of the OSCE as an organization. Restarting the Helsinki process is a great idea.

Do you think that China could play a certain role, including within the OSCE area? How much is Europe now eyeing the growing role of China?

Roberto Montella:
Two weeks ago, I had a meeting with the leadership of China. We also discussed the intensification of the dialogue between the OSCE and China. I would like to note that cooperation on the Shanghai process is very important for us. We are now intensifying the dialogue with Pakistan and India, and I support the Chinese policy "One Belt, One Road". The dialogue in the Central Asian region is intensifying and, of course, the issue of security is discussed.

Belarus has a lot of experience in counteracting human trafficking, drug trafficking; this experience is highly appreciated, including in the UN. Do you think that this experience can be useful to European countries, many of whom are now facing such problems?

Roberto Montella:
Belarus has chosen the most successful topic which can be discussed at the moment. This topic concerns the friendship and cooperation between different countries; in fact, it is now very difficult to come to a common solution, to find some specific points of contact. I believe that it is necessary to build constructive dialogue between other states. The most important to do here is to show respect for other cultures, for other nations, for other countries. The fact is that we often make mistakes when we think that some are right, but others are not. There are many organizations that resort to double standards. I believe that the use of double standards is not the best option.

Mr. Montella, since you have started talking about double standards, you are here now, in Minsk, in the very center of Belarus and in the heart of Europe. Has your attitude, your perception and opinion about Belarus changed from what you heard and read earlier?

Roberto Montella:
My opinion about Belarus has been developing over the years. I hope that the other delegates who are here for the first time from the OSCE are changing their minds. I believe that it is instructive for them to come to Belarus. I hope that other delegates will get a more complete, detailed picture of what is happening in Belarus. And they, probably, will change their opinion, because it is very difficult to get a full picture of the situation in Belarus from the media. I believe that holding such an event in Belarus is a great success.

I will quote the usual school geography textbook, where it is written that Belarus is the state in the center of Europe, which we have already said, and that it is a bridge between East and West. How do you think, how successfully does Belarus play the role of this bridge between East and West?

Roberto Montella:
I believe that this is really a bridge and, as I said earlier, Minsk is the center of diplomatic relations.

Mr. Lukashenko also said earlier that Belarus is a bridge between East and West. The OSCE fully agrees with this.

I would like to note that there are a lot of meetings between delegates. Of course, there are certain contradictions that we should overcome, but in general, it seems to me that the meetings in Minsk are held at a more informal and friendly level.

Roberto Montella sums up 26th session of OSCE PA in Minsk