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01 March 2019, 18:37

Belarus president in favor of step-by-step approach to Helsinki 2 initiative

The meeting in progress
The meeting in progress

MINSK, 1 March (BelTA) – The Belarusian initiative to launch a large-scale negotiation process to discuss security matters cannot be implemented in one go. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he met with representatives of the general public and expert community, Belarusian and foreign mass media on 1 March, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko said: “It is time when we should convene Helsinki 2 somewhere and talk seriously at least at the level of OSCE heads of state [the last meeting of the OSCE heads of state took place in Astana in 2010, the previous one in Istanbul in 1999]. We cannot dash ahead. We have to do it step by step.” He mentioned negotiations of the leaders of the USA and North Korea as an example. Many people expected the first meeting of the heads of state to dismantle difficulties in relations between the countries right away, however, it did not happen. “Major matters cannot be tackled right away, particularly where major players are involved and particularly at the level of countries,” the president noted.

New initiatives have emerged, including the revival of the Silk Road. “It is now necessary to couple these initiatives without making them contradictory to each other. How would our Chinese friends accept this initiative? Will it interfere with the Silk Road? A great deal of problems and a great deal of questions,” summed up the head of state.

“As for the integration of integration, yes, indeed, we've demonstrated to the entire international community that we support moving towards unity both in foreign policy and in our foreign economic activities. It doesn't matter that the European Union has its own policy and attitude towards Russia, Belarus, and the entire Eurasian Economic Union or the Union State of Belarus and Russia. Nevertheless, it is necessary to couple these initiatives. It is necessary to go along this road. There is no other way,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed.

Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei drew attention to the complicated situation in the international scene. “To make this idea work, to make the West understand that without rapprochement, particularly in trade and economic affairs, it is impossible to ensure stability and tranquility in our region, we need the same understanding in the East, too. We need time. Today a lot of events take place in European countries. Representatives of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Eurasian Economic Commission attend them,” he pointed out.

Work on marrying the integration of integrations idea to the Belt and Road concept looks promising. “This is why the process goes on. But, unfortunately, due to today's confrontation between Russia and the West, the process does not move as fast as we would like. Kazakh leadership has spoken in favor of arranging a high-level large-scale event right away and making some decision. It cannot be done. This is why, building on the president's idea to move step by step, we suggested starting with simple and understandable things – the convergence of customs rules, convergence of matters relating to merchandise certification, standardization, and so on. Our European partners understand absolutely clearly that we should do it this way. We work together with the United Nations Organization, the European Union, and the Eurasian Economic Union. We also work with Russia and other partners in order to further advance this idea,” Vladimir Makei said.

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