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Opinions & Interviews

10 Feb 2017

Belarus' role as host of OSCE PA session seen as testimony to the country's growing influence

Belarus' role as host of OSCE PA session seen as testimony to the country's growing influence

MINSK, 10 February (BelTA) - Hosting the 26th annual session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) on 5-9 July will have a positive impact on the international credibility and image of Belarus, Valery Voronetsky, Chairman of the Permanent Commission on International Affairs of the National Assembly, said in an interview with BelTA while commenting on the preparations for this important international event. The Belarus president has already signed the executive order to set up the organizing committee for this event.

The exact number of participants and guests will be announced at a later date. These will be representatives of 57 parliaments of Europe, Asia and North America who are OSCE members. “All in all, we expect about 700 guests,” Valery Voronetsky said.

The session will be dedicated to the strengthening of mutual trust and cooperation for peace and prosperity in the OSCE region. The program will include a meeting of the Standing Committee of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's general committees on political affairs and security; economic affairs, science, technology and environment; democracy, human rights and humanitarian affairs. The plenary session and official receptions will be also on the program. “Minsk will turn into an international discussion platform this summer. Everything will be done to ensure that this platform is a convenient and comfortable for the participants of this major forum. This is what the organizing Committee led by Chairman of the House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko wil be working on. The fact that the organizing committee has been set up by the executive order of the head of state speaks volumes about the attention given to the upcoming event by the country’s leadership,” Valery Voronetsky stressed.

According to him, OSCE PA President Christine Muttonen is expected to visit Minsk in mid-March to meet with the country's leadership and to sign the agreement between the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on holding the 26th annual session.

Valery Voronetsky recalled that Belarus has been taking an active part in the OSCE PA since 2003. Over the years the Parliamentary Assembly has adopted many Belarus-sponsored resolutions, for example, on Chernobyl, fight against trafficking in human beings, new and renewable energy, green economy.

“Belarus is very responsible about its participation in the OSCE and Parliamentary Assembly. Our position has always been balanced, engaged and constructive. The decision to choose Minsk as the host of the 2017 summer session matured within the organization. We see this fact as an important achievement showing that our important role in the OSCE is duly recognized and that the image of our country and parliament has improved,” he said.

Valery Voronetsky believes that holding such a large-scale event in Belarus will help strengthen inter-parliamentary relations, enhance cooperation and will also contribute to the country's international credibility, enhance its positive image and, as a consequence, investment attractiveness. “In trade and economic cooperation, much depends on the image of a country. Business prefers to deal with reliable and predictable partners. Political image plays an important role in this respect,” the MP 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.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 25th Annual Session was held in Tbilisi, Georgia in early July 2016.

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