Belarus seeks constructive cooperation with Council of Europe
According to information by the Belarusian Telegraph Agency (25 February 2015, Minsk /Ekaterina Markovich - BelTA), Belarus is interested in constructive cooperation with the Council of Europe, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Vladimir Andreichenko said as he met with Andrea Rigoni, rapporteur of the PACE's Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, on 25 February, BelTA has learned.
“Perhaps it is time we abandoned old schemes and stereotypes and took a new look at our relations. Belarus and the Belarusian parliament have always supported close, constructive and diversified relations with the Council of the Europe and PACE,” Vladimir Andreichenko noted. The speaker stressed that these relations are based on the principle of mutual trust, respect and non-interference in the domestic affairs of the other state. “We have always been guided by these principles,” he added.
According to the MP, Belarus and Europe have complicated relations. “We see, however, those positive signals Europe sends us in terms of normalizing our relations. Belarus has recently done a lot to implement the common European standards. Our country makes a great contribution to ensuring security and stability in Europe. We have demonstrated it especially taking into account the recent events, including in Ukraine,” Vladimir Andreichenko said.
According to the MP, Belarus has been working hard to counteract present-day threats and challenges, especially such as trafficking in drugs and human beings, illegal migration. “We do not create any problems in transit via Belarus for any states. We provide full and timely transit of gas and oil products to Europe. The same it true about rail transport and aviation traffic. Therefore it is high time we left behind the language of various ultimatums and sanctions. Belarus is interested in the development of constructive relations with the Council of Europe and PACE,” he stressed.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives believes that relations should be developed not only in the political and parliamentary areas but also in the trade and economic sectors since the countries that make part of the Council of Europe account for almost 80% of Belarus' trade. Vladimir Andreichenko also took note of the cooperation in culture and humanitarian activities.
Addressing Andrea Rigoni the MP stressed: “We know your well-balanced and positive approach towards Belarus and the efforts you take to normalize the relations between Belarus, the Belarusian parliament and the Council of Europe, PACE. It is not your first visit to Minsk and I think that your personal knowledge of the House of Representatives MPs will contribute to the preparation of an objective report on Belarus that is to be considered by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe” (see http://eng.belta.by/all_news/politics/Belarus-seeks-constructive-cooperation-with-Council-of-Europe_i_79867.html).