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Opinions & Interviews

29 Jan 2016

Samoseiko: PACE wants to see Belarus Parliament in European family

Samoseiko: PACE wants to see Belarus Parliament in European family

MINSK, 29 January (BelTA) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) wants to see the Parliament of Belarus in the European family, Nikolai Samoseiko, the head of the delegation of Belarus’ National Assembly for contacts with PACE, a member of the House of Representatives, said during a videoconference on the website of the Sovetskaya Belorussiya newspaper, BelTA has learned.

"Some positive changes have taken in PACE towards Belarus. They were primarily due to the thaw in the relations in recent years. We will not credit exclusively ourselves for this. With regard to PACE, in many ways the credit goes to newly appointed rapporteur Andrea Rigoni who works with us,” the MP added. Nikolai Samoseiko explained that Andrea Rigoni criticizes the Belarusian side as mush as the previous special rapporteurs but the rhetoric is no longer directed at confrontation but at dialogue. It gets a response from the Belarusian MPs.

Nikolai Samoseiko recalled that it was Andrea Rigoni who raised the issue of reinstating the special guest status at PACE for Belarus in 2009 which the country was stripped of in 1997. Nikolai Samoseiko noted that it was done on the far-fetched grounds. “Perhaps now Europe regrets this,” he said. After the statements of Special Rapporteur Andrea Rigoni in 2009, a resolution was adopted to reinstate the special guest status. But in return they wanted Belarus to impose a moratorium on the death penalty, or abolish it. Also in 2009 the Belarusian Parliament established a working group to study the death penalty issues.

The MP added that the requirement to abolish the death penalty does not seem tough for Europe. But for Belarus this is a very big issue which needs to be widely discussed.

"As Belarus pursues a multi-vector foreign policy, it is important for us to have a presence in all international platforms," Nikolai Samoseiko said when speaking about the possible reinstatement of the special guest status.

The MP attended a session of the commission for political affairs and democracy at the PACE winter session in late January. “I met with many PACE members. The most important meetings were with PACE President Pedro Agramunt, Andrea Rigoni who is already recognizable in our country,” the MP noted. He said he also had meetings with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Wojciech Sawicki.

"The issues were about the implementation of the European values in Belarus, in the Belarusian society," said the MP. We also discussed the programs to combat trafficking in human beings, against corruption, the reform of electoral legislation, etc. "We do not hide the fact that we are ready to ask for advice in these issues from the PACE and those who, let’s say, have already gone this way," Nikolai Samoseiko said.

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