Meeting with CIS ministers of foreign affairs

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The holding the session of the CIS Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Minsk testifies to the acknowledgment of Belarus’ pro-integration position, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with the CIS ministers of foreign affairs on 6 April.

At the beginning of the meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko presented the Order of Honor to Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee – CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev. “In every line of work there are people, whose energy and determination to succeed motivate others to accomplish outstanding results. Without a doubt Sergei Nikolayevich Lebedev is such a man,” the President said.

The head of state added that Sergei Lebedev’s work as the chairman of the CIS Executive Committee and the CIS executive secretary represented a vivid testimony of the dedication to bolstering interstate relations, preserving and enhancing the potential of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

At the meeting the President voiced Belarus’ position and proposals regarding a number of issues on the international agenda, the situation and cooperation in the CIS.

“Today’s international situation is literally oversaturated with tensions. The ongoing destabilization of the system of checks and balances, which kept competing countries and blocs at bay in the past, represents the most dangerous trend in the Euro-Atlantic space. Located in a peculiar geopolitical fissure, Belarus recognizes the disadvantages of the confrontation in the European region spiraling out of control. Experts believe that a cold war is already in progress,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

He stated that attempts to work out a new paradigm of the world order are made not only via negotiations but in war zones, too. The Donbass area in Ukraine is the closest one. “Thanks to the Minsk agreements large-scale combat operations have been stopped over there but, unfortunately, people keep dying. Let me reaffirm once again that we are ready to do everything to restore peace in the Donbass area while observing every letter of the international law and with the approval of the conflicting sides,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that during the 26thsession of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Belarus suggested starting the discussion about launching a negotiation process meant to overcome the existing contradictions and forming new constructive relations in the OSCE region. “It is necessary to work out universally acceptable principles of cooperation in Europe. A dialogue of experts involving analytics centers, government agencies, and private structures to determine common goals meant to enhance trust between nations at least in political and military affairs could play an important role,” the head of state said.

In his words, the international expert conference on security in Eastern Europe, which is due in Minsk in May 2018, represents a good opportunity to get the ball rolling.

In 2018 Belarus will also host an OSCE counterterrorism conference on preventing and fighting terrorism in the digital age. A meeting of the Munich Security Conference Core Group will take place in Belarus in 2018, too.

The Belarusian head of state invited all the partners to partake in the events at the highest level.

Aleksandr Lukashenko extended congratulations to Russia on the proper organization of presidential elections. “The people of Russia have voted for the country’s dynamic economic and social development. We hope that Russia will maintain its leading role in our commonwealth,” the head of state said.

He recalled that presidential elections will take place in Azerbaijan in a matter of days (11 April). “I am convinced that the people of Azerbaijan, just like the Russians, will make the right choice in favor of strengthening and well-being of their country. We believe in the further expansion of relations with this friendly state both in bilateral and multilateral formats,” the Belarusian leader said.

When commenting on the role of the CIS observers, Aleksandr Lukashenko said Belarus had always advocated an objective approach to the assessment of electoral processes and emphasized the high degree of politicization of the work of European colleagues. “Election monitoring by the CIS helps form an alternative opinion and fight with the monopoly of Western experts who make statements ahead of the voting,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

“This is why we commend the positive role of the CIS observation missions and support their active work. By the way, this is one of the most unquestionable avenues of cooperation in the CIS that benefits everyone,” the Belarusian leader added.

According to the head of state, Tajikistan is presiding in the CIS in 2018 and Belarus agrees on the tasks presented in the presidency program and will ensure its full participation in its implementation. “I hope this year will be marked by positive initiatives that will soon be implemented. The fight against international terrorism and extremism has been recently the priority of our cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In his words, five years ago, during Belarus’ presidency in the CIS, a regional meeting was organized jointly with the CIS Executive Committee, the UN and the OSCE to take stock of the progress in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. “This year Belarus plans to hold a similar event aimed at deepening coordination between the CIS and other international structures to prevent such weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President believes that the CIS needs true and open cooperation between law enforcement agencies. The defense ministries need to develop a joint air and space defense system in the CIS by 2025, and the interior ministries are tasked with completing the development and start the implementation of the Interstate Action Plan to Combat Crime for 2019-2023.

“A special focus should be on cross-border crime,” the head of state said.

The CIS Anti-Terrorism Center needs to implement an integrated approach to counter terrorism and extremism using the entire set of measures.

"The CIS financial watchdogs should join the fight against terrorism financing. To complete this work we also need cooperation between the diplomats of our countries and to develop a global strategy based on international law and under the auspices of the UN to counteract new challenges and threats,” the Belarusian leader said.