MINSK, 27 May (BelTA) – The Consultative Council for Belarusians Abroad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus is expected to hold a meeting in November-December, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Dapkiunas said at a meeting of the working group of the National Assembly for Belarusians Abroad on 27 May, BelTA has learned.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds annual meetings of the council with foreign participants. We seek to organize it so that it is not a formal meeting, but to see the existing problems and search for solutions as part of the dialogue. It is not always easy, but we try our best to do so. In November-December, we plan to hold the next meeting of the Consultative Board. The meeting was initially planned for this month, which is not possible yet. Let us hope that it will take place at the end of the year,” said Andrei Dapkiunas.
According to him, it is expected that the council will be expanded. “We plan, in particular, that Argentina, Hungary, the USA, Canada and Sweden will join us. We expect that the new members of the council will bring new interesting ideas on how we can move forward in our cooperation,” the deputy minister said.
Andrei Dapkiunas stressed that the law “On Belarusians Abroad” adopted six years ago is the foundation of work with the diaspora. “The second important tool for cooperation with the diaspora is the subprogram “Belarusians in the World” of the Culture of Belarus state program. Thanks to it state funds have been used over the past five years to hold joint cultural events with associations of Belarusians abroad. We believe it is a significant support for them, as well as an opportunity to expand the geography of our cooperation,” he said.
Today, the action plan for 2020-2021 is being discussed at a meeting of the working group for Belarusians abroad. According to its head, Deputy Chairperson of the Standing Commission on Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media Valentina Razhanets, the group's tasks are to expand contacts with compatriots abroad and strengthen cooperation with the Belarusian diaspora. “The agenda of the meeting is aimed at specifying these tasks and plans. The colleagues will make their proposals, and we will discuss the points of cooperation that are of interest to compatriots abroad. Our state takes care of our compatriots abroad. Talented people live and work there. They have certain experience that can be useful to the country. Our task is to concentrate this experience and help apply it here,” she said.
Special attention is paid to developing and improving legislation in this area. “The Standing Commission on Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media is currently preparing for the first reading of a draft law amending the law on the citizenship of the Republic of Belarus. Such a notion as restoration of citizenship is being introduced. In particular, the restoration of the Belarusian citizenship in a simplified manner under the draft law is provided for persons who have reached the age of 18 and returned to Belarus for permanent residence,” the MP explained.
The amendments are scheduled for the first reading at the spring session of the House of Representatives.