Margret Kiener Nellen about Domracheva and meeting President Lukashenko


Margret Kiener Nellen about Domracheva and meeting President Lukashenko

The parliamentary group of friendship of Belarus and Switzerland was created not so long ago. Margret Kiener Nellen, the head of the National Committee’s financial department is in the group.

She is quite famous in the world. Margret Kiener Nellen is a solicitor and a fighter for women’s rights; what is more, she is the head of a sport union in Bern. In many ways thanks to her the anti-Belarusian resolution was declined at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Margret Kiener Nellen has given an interview to CTV’s correspondent Alyona Syrova, where she had spoken about the prospects of Belarus-Switzerland relations and many other issues.

The Interparliamentary meeting between Belarus and Switzerland has passed. You took part in it. It is interesting to hear your opinion, how will the bilateral relations continue developing from now on?

Margret Kiener Nellen, co-chairwoman of the Interparliamentary Belarusian-Swiss group of friendship, deputy of the Federal Assembly of the Swiss Confederation:
What has happened is a truly historical event. It is the first cooperation like this – just imagine- in the history of two parliaments, when the chairman of your Parliament comes to Bern. We already have plans. A lot has been discussed. First of all we will be developing tourism. I think, or to be more correct, I know that there are groups and individual tourists interested in travelling to Belarus, in learning the history of Belarus, especially facts concerning World War II. I think that everyone should visit Brest and see the city, just as I have done it last year. We have agreed on mutual student exchange. It will be beneficial for both of the countries.

And of course, we spoke about sport. And I personally like it because I am a fan of women’s football. And it pleases me that both Belarus and Switzerland play in one group. Our team will visit Minsk, and your team will visit Switzerland – it is great! And personally I with great pleasure followed Belarus’ achievements at the Olympics in Korea. I am a fan of your Darya Domracheva.

And of course, you have a high economic potential. We will be developing agricultural cooperation. One of the group’s participants from Switzerland is a farmer himself. So be sure: there will be cooperation between farmsteads. And connections will become stronger in the cultural sector as well. Cooperation in the television sector is a separate issue. We from our hand suggested creating a Swiss broadcasting system, which would be in Belarus and would show the country’s life and culture. And the response signal would be from Belarus, so that Switzerland could find out about your country. People in Switzerland don’t know much about Belarus.

You opened Belarus for yourself not so long ago.

Margret Kiener Nellen:
Yes, I participated in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held in Minsk last year. I was the head of the Parliamentary Commission of the Swiss delegation. It was the first time for me and my colleagues from the parliament in Belarus. We were curious and interested. And you know, we were amazed how the conference was organized. Minsk itself is a very developed city. We could talk to people. I know little of the Russian language, so most of the times I used English, German and French.

With what mood did you come to Minsk for the Parliamentary Assembly? May be something amazed you in its organization?

Margret Kiener Nellen:
One of the strongest impressions was meeting your President, who was present at the opening of the Parliamentary Assembly. And that was the first time when we heard and saw President Lukashenko live. I was then amazed by his opening speech. Before the conference began, many parliamentarians were skeptical about human rights in Belarus. Or they had a critical opinion on the death penalty in the country which up to this day exists in Belarus. But those who criticized were surprised how openly President Lukashenko touched upon these issues in his speech. Any other person would not mention them and tried to get away from the issues, but he explained his position with confidence. Therefore, we were really amazed. I would really like to have more reasons to come to Belarus again and again.