Meeting to discuss preparations for Belarusian People’s Congress

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The Belarusian People’s Congress should be held at an exceptionally high level, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting to discuss the preparation and conduct of the Belarusian People’s Congress.

The head of state emphasized that very little time is left before the congress. “The interest in the forum is huge, which implies a great responsibility. This is a milestone event for the country, and we must hold it at the highest level,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Taking part in the meeting were Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, Chair of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly Natalya Kochanova and Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly Vladimir Andreichenko, Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko, State Secretary of the Security Council Aleksandr Volfovich, Head of the Belarus President Property Management Directorate Viktor Sheiman, Minsk Mayor Vladimir Kukharev and Director of the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research Oleg Makarov.

“Firstly, we need to make sure that everything is ready for the arrival of the delegates. People from all the regions representing the entire spectrum of civil society, public associations, political parties, labor collectives, and individual regions will flock to the capital city. There will also be invited guests. Delegates from the regions should feel at home in the capital of our motherland. It is necessary to ensure their safety, comfortable conditions for working and having a rest. The appropriate services should take care of these matters,” the head of state said.

Secondly, it is necessary to make the most of this forum to address the most pressing issues of today. “People from all walks of life and age groups will gather here. They represent thousands, millions of Belarusian people, labor collectives. These delegates were chosen by people. We should give everyone a voice and hear the whole spectrum of opinions on various issues,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

“I would like to use this occasion to reiterate that some people, first of all, fugitives and other so-called opposition members are lamenting that if they do not take part in the Belarusian People’s Congress, this congress will be illegitimate. I said that we elected people who live in our country, so let these fugitives be elected in Poland, Lithuania. Some are obviously in Ukraine, some might be in Russia, though not so many. We do not have the experience of nominating people living abroad. We only invite guests from abroad,” he said.

“Secondly, they declared a boycott to the Belarusian People’s Congress. If you boycott it, why are you shedding tears? Once you declared a boycott, stick to it. More than that, a short while after announcing the boycott, they decided to arrange a forum of Belarusian diaspora. Go ahead and do it. No one is going to be on your way. Get together in Poland and Lithuania and hold it,” the President added.

Thirdly, the President believes that it is necessary to discuss the most burning issues in more detail in the run-up to the congress. He recalled that earlier the social and economic development program and a number of other issues put forward at dialogue platforms had been discussed in the regions. The head of state spoke highly of the efforts of his aides in the regions and especially the governors to arrange dialogue platforms at the local level. “Delegates of the Belarusian People’s Congress gathered together and discussed these issues. It is clear that not all of the 2,500 people and invitees [of the Belarusian People’s Congress] will be able to speak there. Therefore, it was right to discuss these matters on the ground, to accumulate and submit proposals to the Belarusian People’s Congress on behalf of a particular region,” Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced.

“It helps us to keep our finger on the pulse, to delve deeper into the issues facing the regions and thus make sure that our decisions will be well-grounded and balanced,” he said.

The head of state emphasized that the Belarusian People’s Congress is usually followed by a resolution with the main takeaways of the forum. A number of matters will be fleshed out and specified in the social and economic development program. “The resolution will chart the pathway towards Belarus’ journey to certain goals. The conceptual provisions should address specific issues that concern people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President illustrated his statement with a specific example: if final documents of the Belarusian People’s Congress formalize the decision to preserve state-owned enterprises and to drop plans of massive privatization, people will see that they will not have to worry about their own future and the future of their children. “The sale of state property and state-run enterprises is a conceptual issue. However, this concept will help people see that state-owned companies will not go private, which is a guarantee that people will retain their jobs. The congress might as well take an opposite decision, i.e. that state property should be sold. What to do in this case? People should realize that the Belarusian People’s Congress will make it clear what its fundamental decisions will lead to today, tomorrow, a day after tomorrow. This is the main thing we need to think about when making certain decisions,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that people in Belarus are interested in all kinds of issues. “The economy is a cornerstone matter. Other pressing issues include prices, utility fees, jobs, wages and so on,” the head of state said. “There are many proposals related to social and political development. Our citizens are not indifferent to the future of the country. They are fully aware of the fact that we are going through a crucial period, when we all need to stick together and stand united to preserve the independent Belarusian state,” the President stressed.