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19 January 2023, 16:33

Foreign ministers of Russia, Belarus: OSCE is rapidly degrading

MINSK, 19 January (BelTA) – The OSCE has turned into a battlefield and is rapidly and clearly degrading, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Aleinik and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov said after the joint meeting of the collegiums of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Belarus and Russia on 19 January, BelTA has learned.

The interaction of the two countries with the OSCE was discussed among other things at the meeting of the collegiums. “We share the view that the organization is going through a crisis, and this crisis is systemic and covers all three dimensions – military and political, economic and human,” Sergei Aleinik said.

According to him, there are a large number of conflicts in the OSCE area of responsibility, and confidence-building measures have been devalued. “The erosion of mechanisms did not start yesterday, but was ongoing over many years,” he said. As far as the economy is concerned, it is also difficult to remember a real project that would benefit Belarus or Russia. In addition, the failure of the OSCE to develop common election evaluation standards is another sign of the lack of coordinated, effective action within the organization. “The OSCE does not respond in any way to the illegal economic sanctions that affect people and their rights,” Sergei Aleinik said citing another example.

“Unfortunately, today we see that the organization that was designed as a platform for dialogue, for finding solutions and compromises has turned into a battlefield,” the Belarusian foreign minister stressed. The OSCE used to be synonymous to a common European home, but now this home needs major repairs, Sergei Aleinik believes. “In order to do these repairs, a meaningful and constructive dialogue is needed,” he said.

Belarus suggested such a dialogue more than five years ago, the minister recalled. When a meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was held in Minsk, the president of Belarus put forward an initiative in the presence of all European participants to launch the Helsinki 2 process that could set in motion a meaningful dialogue on security, confidence-building and cooperation in Europe. “Unfortunately, back then this initiative was not heard. However, this option is still on the table here. Sooner or later this work will begin and Minsk is ready to host this process. Yet, we are ready to consider any other location,” stressed Sergei Aleinik.

Sergey Lavrov doubled down on what his Belarusian counterpart said: “The OSCE is rapidly and clearly degrading, moving farther and farther away from those lofty principles that were laid down in the Helsinki Final Act, in the documents of the subsequent OSCE summits.” According to the minister, instead of fulfilling its obligations, the OSCE chose to rely on NATO's eastward expansion towards the borders of Russia and Belarus. The organization was not going to stick to its commitments and abide by its documents, as is evident from the Minsk agreements that appeared to be signed only in order to buy time to prepare for a war against Russia. And the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine that was supposed to monitor how the Minsk agreements were implemented was absolutely biased and in a number of cases withheld information about the real state of affairs.

“We are now checking the information that has surfaced in recent months during the special military operation. This evidence gives reason to suspect that some employees of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine did not just hide, conceal information about the real state of affairs, but in fact helped the Ukrainian regime prepare and conduct military actions against civilian population,” Sergey Lavrov said.

According to him, the West covered up such atrocities, carefully concealed information about the violation of international humanitarian law. “The OSCE is degrading, and this process is ‘facilitated' by the current chairperson and those who led the organization last year and the year before,” the minister noted. In particular, Sweden and Poland, which chaired it in past years, ignored the consensus principle of decision-making. According to the minister, the principles of the OSCE are discredited by the activities of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and by the activities of ODIHR.

“We share the hope of our Belarusian friends that someday Western colleagues will come to understand that the policy they are pursuing on the European continent is a dead end. Where there's life there's hope, but so far we do not see any signs of common sense on the other side of the barricades that were built by former Western partners,” the Russian foreign minister said. The voices urging to build regional security taking into account the interests of all states, including Belarus and Russia, are few and far between. “These sound voices are isolated and they drown in the choir of those who are led by openly aggressive countries, such as Poland and the Baltic republics, that are now calling the shots in the European Union and NATO. This is sad and, of course, it demonstrates the loss of independence by Europe and complete subordination of the European Union to the interests of the United States that is the main beneficiary of the crisis they are trying to provoke in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, of the hybrid war that the West unleashed in order to undermine competitors,” Sergey Lavrov stressed.

In his opinion, some responsible politicians in Europe are beginning to realize that their countries are being used, de-industrialized, deliberately weakened so that they will not be able to become independent players and to have strategic autonomy. “I am sure that someday politicians who will defend their legitimate objective national interests will come to power. But so far, such politicians are not in the picture in most European countries,” he added.

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