Meeting with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, ODIHR Director Michael Georg Link

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Belarus is in favor of enhancing the role of he OSCE in the regulation of the situation in Ukraine, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Michael Georg Link on 16 June.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that some time ago Belarus and other post-Soviet countries suggested their vision of the OSCE reforms. “Unfortunately, these proposals are still under consideration, or they are blocked by a number of states. But the Ukrainian crisis shows that we do not need additional arguments to agree on the enhancement of the organization's role,” the head of state said.

The President noted that Belarus’ position regarding the operation of the OSCE is known. “We are in favor of building up the role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We believe that the reformation of the organization should be aimed at enhancing its role,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that he does not mean that the OSCE does not play any role in the resolution of the situation in Ukraine. “It is quite the opposite. This is the only organization which plays an important role in the settlement and ceasefire in Ukraine. But we would like the OSCE to step up efforts and to play a more prominent role in the normalization of the situation in Ukraine,” the head of state said.

Speaking about the role of Belarus, the Belarusian leader said that the OSCE, which is an engine in the crisis settlement and engagement of the country in this process, is aware of it.

He explained why Belarus is interested in the prompt settlement of the situation in Ukraine. “This conflict, this war is going near our borders. This is happening not in such remote countries as Libya, Syria or Iraq; this is a neighboring country. Therefore, we are concerned about the situation and would like to prevent the escalation of the conflict,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized.

A presidential election campaign is to take place in Belarus this year. “You may rest assured that we have invited all your representatives that you deem necessary to send for the sake of monitoring the election process,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the OSCE is an organization that very seriously monitors the election process.

“I cannot say we are satisfied with how it is done. Not because you criticize us more often than mention something positive. No, not because of that but because the OSCE still lacks common approaches, universal rules for monitoring an election,” said the President. The head of state added that together with ex-USSR republics Belarus once came up with the possible options for such approaches. “I think that they will be discussed and adopted at least one day. But life goes on. We may agree or disagree with something, we may criticize each other or not. Nevertheless, we have commitments to honor before the OSCE in this regard,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Belarus-OSCE cooperation is rather intensive. A number of projects have been accomplished already. “Those are projects concerning the counteraction of slave trade, border security, and environmental protection,” reminded the President. Projects for utilizing liquid rocket fuel and projects to deal with drugs trafficking are in the pipeline. The head of state was confident that Belarus and the OSCE will manage to come to terms on the implementation of these projects because they are vital for Europe as a whole.

OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said that the organization acknowledges Belarus’ important role in the peaceful regulation of the Ukrainian crisis.