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Opinions & Interviews

18 Jul 2019

MFA: Belarus will continue to promote Helsinki 2 initiative

MFA: Belarus will continue to promote Helsinki 2 initiative
Andrei Dapkiunas. Archive photo

MINSK, 18 July (BelTA) - Belarus will continue to promote the Helsinki 2 initiative as this will contribute to peace and security of the country and neighboring territories, Belarus Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Dapkiunas told the media, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus will strongly promote this idea [of holding a new OSCE conference in the Helsinki 2 format] every time, at every opportunity, at an appropriate occasion. It is not for self-promotion but for peace and security, first and foremost, of the people of our country and our neighbors,” the deputy minister said.

He recalled that Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko put forward the initiative to resume the practice of holding meetings with the participation of the heads of the OSCE states two years ago. “The process takes time, requires supporters. This is not the kind of the idea that gains fast publicity, perception, ceremonial events. It is part of life,” the deputy minister stressed. It is necessary to do something outside the normal bureaucratic process. We want the people, the leaders of the countries to look in the eyes of each other because the understanding between them is crucial to the future of the world, the issues of peace and war. For the time being this happens with varying degrees of success,” he added.

Despite the length of the process and lack of obvious success sometimes, it is important to continue efforts to resume the direct dialogue between the heads of a number of states and thereby contribute to the stabilization of the situation in the region. “To pretend that everything is business as usual is irresponsible. We see the manifestations of this: military conflicts, tensions which can lead to a worse scenario. Being a country that has gone through the worst of it (Great Patriotic War) Belarus feels a special responsibility for seeking out a peace agreement,” the deputy minister said.

As it has been reported, 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 in 2017.

The head of state revisited the Helsinki 2 idea during a meeting with members of the public and the expert community, Belarusian and foreign media in March 2019. Alexander Lukashenko said: “It is time when we should convene Helsinki 2 somewhere and talk seriously at least at the level of OSCE heads of state [the last meeting of the OSCE heads of state took place in Astana in 2010, the previous one in Istanbul in 1999]. We cannot dash ahead. We have to do it step by step.” He mentioned negotiations of the leaders of the USA and North Korea as an example. Many people expected the first meeting of the heads of state to dismantle difficulties in relations between the countries right away, however, it did not happen. “Major matters cannot be tackled right away, particularly where major players are involved and particularly at the level of countries,” the president noted.

New initiatives have emerged, including the revival of the Silk Road. “It is now necessary to couple these initiatives without making them contradictory to each other. How would our Chinese friends accept this initiative? Will it interfere with the Silk Road? A great deal of problems and a great deal of questions,” summed up the head of state.

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Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus