Kent Härstedt: I am positive about Belarus and its people


Kent Härstedt: I am positive about Belarus and its people

Belarus will continue to be a good support for the OSCE in the center of Europe, said Alexander Lukashenko on January 23 receiving in the Palace of Independence representative of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly for Eastern Europe Kent Härstedt.

The conversation covered a lot of topics, including security issues, and the OSCE Minsk meeting in July, as well as the serious success of Belarusian IT specialists. In addition, the European guest said a lot of personal and very warm words about Belarus.

Kent Härstedt, OSCE PA Special Representative for Eastern Europe:
I'm glad to be back in Belarus. I came here in different qualities. First as a young student, then as a representative of UNICEF, and then repeatedly as an OSCE representative. And for some reason it seems to me that I will come here in the future. I must admit that I favor your country and your people.

The conversation turned out to be constructive and substantive. The sides managed to discuss the state of affairs in the world and, of course, Belarus' contribution to European peace.

Among the most important statements of President Lukashenko was the following:

“I want to reassure you that we will have very good relations with the Organization [OSCE]. We are ready to discuss any problems, any questions. There is only one condition: we are a sovereign and independent country. Believe me, we are sovereign and independent. And, like any other country, like your native Sweden, we cannot agree or allow ourselves to be pushed somewhere in the back, to be taught how to live. If they want us to learn some lessons, we are ready to learn. But please don't teach us how to live... We perceive this negatively, as any other country. That is, this is a normal condition for our cooperation, in my opinion.”

More than once, Belarus' initiatives have become the basis for the adoption of really meaningful OSCE declarations. For instance, the general plan for cooperation in overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster was signed on the initiative of Belarus.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe began with international forums in the 1970s. In those days it was an attempt to stop the arms race and develop common rules for the game. The result of such meetings was the famous Helsinki agreement. Today Europe is again "in a fever". Official Minsk is ready to help relieve tensions.

MORE: Lukashenko to Härstedt: Belarus eager to start Helsinki-2 process

The initiative, called Helsinki-2, not only has the right to exist, but it can become a real way out of prolonged turbulence. Moreover, Belarus does have the experience of organizing global meetings and negotiations.

Kent Harstead:
A rich conversation with the President of Belarus became a kind of continuation of previous meetings. A wide range of issues related to elections and electoral processes, the possibility of improving electoral legislation was discussed. The themes of interaction within the OSCE were touched upon, including the involvement of Belarus in the framework of the Minsk talks and Minsk agreements.

Kent Harsted also visited the Belarusian-Chinese industrial park The Great Stone. Today it has 26 companies with a total investment of about $700 million. Although the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly basically solves political issues, the delegation's visit to the Park is perceived as an opportunity to tell European business about the potential of Belarus.

Sergei Voitsekhovsky, deputy general director of the company for the development of the Great Stone industrial park:
They were impressed. They were impressed primarily by the pace of development of the park. They learned more about our park. We shared with them relevant information, which they will later share with their colleagues, the interested businesses.

The Hi-Tech Park of Belarus (HTP) is one of the leading information clusters in Central and Eastern Europe. Belarus cooperates with the whole world. Customers come from 67 countries. Including 5 of the world's 10 largest corporations. Mobile applications developed here in the HTP are used by more than a billion people from almost 200 countries.

Alexander Martinkevich, deputy director for marketing and development of the State Administration of the Park of High Technologies:
The European market is one of the most important markets for us. About half of the products that are developed in the High-Tech Park are now delivered to our European customers. Thus we understand Europeans' interest in changes that are happening in Belarus' IT sector.

Such an open interaction with the OSCE is an opportunity for Belarus to be tightly involved in European political and economic movement. The next session of the OSCE will be held this spring. The Belarusian delegation is preparing initiatives regarding combating terrorism and cyber crime. Several resolutions are being prepared for presentation.