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Opinions & Interviews

13 Dec 2016

PACE welcomes progress in Belarus-Council of Europe relations

PACE welcomes progress in Belarus-Council of Europe relations

MINSK, 13 December (BelTA) – The relations between Belarus and the Council of Europe are developing in a very positive way, Andrea Rigoni, Rapporteur on Belarus of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), told reporters on 13 December, BelTA has learned.

“The relations between Belarus and the Council of Europe are very positive. We hold joint activities: Belarus' representatives come to the Council of Europe, and PACE officials visit Belarus,” Andrea Rigoni noted.

The PACE representative also pointed out that he was an observer at the latest parliamentary elections in Belarus, and the Council of Europe has plans to invite Belarusian MPs to attend the Council of Europe annual meeting to be held in January. “We have not yet got acquainted with the new parliament, and hope to have such an opportunity in Strasbourg in January. Belarus’ representatives will be invited to join the political committee to discuss current items on the agenda as part of a session of the Council of Europe,” Andrea Rigoni added.

For his part, Council of Europe’s Director of the Political Affairs Directorate Alexander Gessel noted that in the past five years, the relations between Belarus and the Council of Europe have been reset and advanced considerably. For example, the Council of Europe information point has been set up in Belarus and the parties are ready to develop cooperation in different areas. “Every year we arrange approximately 45-50 activities. This is a lot for a country that is not formally a member of the Council of Europe. Every year Belarus welcomes approximately 120 experts. We need to communicate, to know each other better and understand in which direction we should develop our cooperation,” he said.

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