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17 Mar 2017

OSCE PA summer session in Minsk believed to hold great economic potential

MINSK, 17 March (BelTA) – In an interview to BelTA, CIS First Deputy Executive Secretary, First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Viktor Guminsky talked about economic opportunities that the 26th Summer Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly opens up for Belarus.

“When I served as Vice Speaker [of the House of Representatives] and represented our country at the PA meetings, I often saw that the western countries knew little about Belarus, our culture and mentality. The situation, however, started changing gradually. As you know, the decision to hold the summer session in Belarus on 5-9 July was unanimous,” Viktor Guminsky said. He said that there is a big interest on the part of western MPs in Belarus. “Many of them, while talking to me, admitted that they were looking forward to visiting our country. We need to represent it at a high level,” he said.

According to Viktor Guminsky, the 26th session will enhance the country’s role in global politics and security. “The level of the forthcoming meetings in Minsk shows that the OSCE leadership has abandoned (at least partially) the policy of double standards which we saw in respect to our country not long ago. It was hard to prove something because in European organizations they heard only one side and disregarded the arguments of the other. That was a difficult time, but even then we managed to put forward our resolutions at the OSCE OA sessions. They pertained to peace and security, green economy, the fight against trafficking in persons and other important issues,” he said.

Viktor Guminsky is convinced that the forthcoming session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly opens up big opportunities for Belarus in building dialogue with foreign politicians, and not only with them. “Among European MPs there are many businessmen. I think that our ministries can team up with House of Representatives MPs to work out programs of possible meetings to discuss every point of mutual interest. This can be another step in developing business, trade and economic cooperation with partners from the European Union. They are expected to spend five days in Minsk and this time is enough to take some decisions,” he said. Viktor Guminsky expressed hope that the Belarusian ministries and agencies will make the best use of the opportunity and reap benefits from the OSCE PA events.

“In addition, we will have a great opportunity to work out the issues of bilateral inter-parliamentary cooperation. I have no doubt that the National Assembly members will take advantage of this opportunity. What can be more convenient? You do not even need to travel abroad. Just organize important meetings and reach agreements,” he said.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was established in Madrid, Spain in April 1991. It is comprised of 323 MPs from 57 countries. Its major tasks include to facilitate inter-parliamentary dialogue, support democratic institutions in the OSCE participating states, and promote cooperation and security in the region. The annual summer session is the largest event on the OSCE PA calendar that brings together the leadership and officers of the OSCE PA, adopts declarations and resolutions.

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