Belarusian legislature cooperates intensively with foreign parliaments at level of friendship groups, lawmaker says

The Belarusian National Assembly cooperates intensively with foreign parliaments at the level of the parliamentary friendship groups, Nina Mazay, head of the committee on international affairs and national security in the Council of Republic (upper parliamentary house), said at a news conference held in Minsk on May 18, BelaPAN reports.

This year Belarusian lawmakers visited France, Israel and Italy, Ms. Mazay said, noting that representatives of the national legislature are also scheduled to visit Serbia in 2010.

Parliamentary delegations of Latvia and Turkey currently stay in Minsk, she said.

The visit to France was paid between May 11 and 14. The Belarusian delegation held meetings at the French Court of Audit, the foreign ministry and the National Assembly.

This was the first official visit of Belarusian lawmakers to France. A French parliamentary delegation visited Minsk in the summer of 2009.

“During the visit, we met with the commission on European affairs in the French National Assembly and attended a plenary session where government officials answered MPs’ questions about the interesting proposal to set up a European Union crisis fund,” Ms. Mazay said.

She denied that Belarus does not cooperate with the 27-member bloc, noting that “more than half” of the country’s output goes to the EU. Besides, the EU makes foreign direct and indirect investment in the country, which is also evidence of bilateral cooperation, and there are 40 companies involving French capital alone in Belarus, she said.

As for the EU’s visa rules that apply to Belarusian citizens, Ms. Mazay said that they should be similar to those in place for citizens of other European countries.