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Opinions & Interviews

5 Jul 2017

Lukashenko suggests launching discussion on new Helsinki Process in OSCE

Lukashenko suggests launching discussion on new Helsinki Process in OSCE

MINSK, 5 July (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko suggested launching a discussion in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the need for a new Helsinki Process as he spoke at the plenary session dedicated to the formal opening of the 26th OSCE PA annual session in Minsk on 5 July, BelTA has learned.

The head of state said that there is an apparent need to renew the pan-European dialogue on measures to strengthen trust, security and cooperation. “This should be done bearing in mind the enormous positive experience associated with the Helsinki Process of the 1970s that showed that the actions should be proactive, rather than reactive. All this points to the relevance of the idea to launch a new Helsinki Process, a broad dialogue aimed at overcoming the existing differences in the relations between the countries in our Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.

“In late 2016 I suggested starting a new negotiation process, similar to the Helsinki Process. Meanwhile, as we talk about such a large-scale event in the present-day context, we need to keep in mind, so to say, the expansion of this format. This can be done, for instance, by engaging new participants. First of all, I am referring to China. Some may think that today this is a difficult thing to do due to the considerable differences in the positions of the sides. However, I believe that other smaller states, both in the West and in the East, may speak out in favor of the idea of the new Helsinki Process. I think that the work to promote such a format, its conceptualization, and organization of the negotiation process can be done only together,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state believes that the new Helsinki Process could facilitate the signing of a global compact by the world’s major powers that would finally put an end to the cold war that is long over, excluding the possibility of its renewal and escalation into a more tragic form, and offering a strategic vision of new constructive relations in the OSCE region.

“We understand that it will be not easy to develop a kind of Helsinki 2 that would satisfy all parties. Therefore, it is important to first agree on the common principles and objectives aimed at enhancing mutual trust at least in political and military dimensions. These may include joint efforts to fight terrorism, reduction of tensions and prevention of military escalation, coordination of measures to regulate migration processes and to ensure cybersecurity. In short, we must respond to the present-day challenges,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

He stressed it is important to stop the geopolitical rivalry in the region, to abandon the practice of creating spheres of influence and imposing a certain model of social and political development on the states. “We all need to align the integration processes and settle disputes by peaceful means only,” the president noted.

“In this process, we could make use of the achievements of the previous and current initiatives. If this idea gains support, as early as next year we could announce, say in 2020, an enlarged OSCE meeting within the framework of the new Helsinki Process and start preparations for the final summit. We are in favor of setting up a group of like-minded stakeholders to promote this idea, and are going to use other international organizations along with the OSCE,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state said that given Belarus’ experience, if necessary, Belarus is ready to become the launching ground for the process. “Still, we understand that place and time should be discussed separately,” he added.

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