Lukashenka: Belarus ready to discuss any problems with OSCE

The Belarusian government is ready to discuss any problems and issues with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Tuesday in Minsk while meeting with Kent Harstedt, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly`s special representative for Eastern Europe.

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Mr. Lukashenka thanked the guest for his attention to Belarus and assured him that Belarus would continue to be a good pillar for the OSCE in the middle of Europe.

“As for European, regional security, you know our attitude to many things, trends in Europe,” the Belarusian leader said, according to the government’s news agency BelTA. “You know our attitude to issues of security, war and peace. We will stick to this position. Believe me that we will be a good pillar for the OSCE in the middle of Europe and we will do everything possible to ensure that there is peace and order in our common European home.”

Mr. Lukashenka emphasized the importance of urgently taking some measures to lessen tension in Europe.

He mentioned his proposal to launch a Helsinki 2 negotiation process, a new global peace-building process similar to the Helsinki process of the 1970s.

He added that it was not absolutely necessary for the new negotiation process to be called the Helsinki 2 negotiation process.

According to Mr. Lukashenka, the Belarusian authorities will have “very good” relations with the OSCE.

“We are willing to discuss any problems and issues,” he said. “You can freely put what you consider to be the most uncomfortable questions to me, our government officials, certain individuals, ministers, everyone you believe these questions need to be put to. We will discuss them and respond to them.”

“There is only one condition: we are a sovereign, independent country, and just like any other country, like your native Sweden, we cannot agree or allow that we are somewhere pushed in the back, urged and lectured,” Mr. Lukashenka said.

According to him, Belarus is willing to learn things but just like any other country, it does not want to be lectured.

Mr. Harstedt is on a visit to Belarus from January 22 to January 24.

The main objective of his visit is to discuss recommendations from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights for improving the election process in Belarus.
On January 22, Mr. Harstedt met with Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the central election commission; Uladzimir Andreychanka, chairman of the House of Representatives; and opposition leaders.

Mr. Harstedt visited Minsk in July 2017 to attend the 26th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

While holding the position of vice president of the OSCE PA, Mr. Harstedt was special coordinator of the short-term OSCE observer mission for Belarus’ September 2016 House of Representatives elections.