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Statement by Sergei Martynov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, at the Informal OSCE Ministerial Meeting (Corfu, Greece, 28 June 2009)

Distinguished colleagues,

From the discussion that has taken place yesterday and today one thing at least seems clear to me – we are all dissatisfied with the current system of “hard” and “soft” security and also with the current situation in that area. And although this is perhaps a negative common denominator, it is  in my view a sufficient common denominator and a sufficient motive for us to begin serious  negotiations to find areas of common interest. I trust that by the time of our next meeting of foreign ministers, as many colleagues have already suggested, the Chairmanship in its contacts with the most interested delegations will have been able to begin practical work on a list of possible areas where our points of view coincide.

In my view, one of the problems with security is the fragmentation of security within the OSCE area. From the point of view of a country like Belarus that is located at the “fault line” between the current major security structures – NATO and the European Union on the one hand and Russia on the other – there are serious deficits in both “hard” security and in other forms of security. It is true that Belarus is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which also includes Russia and some of our other colleagues in this Organization and which gives us certain security guarantees. And we value this. But these are what you might call “regional” security guarantees. What we would also like to have are what might be called “continental” security guarantees at the level of all of Europe, at the OSCE level, because, believe me, the situation for a country like Belarus is not the most comfortable one. It is for that reason that we support Russia’s proposal that we need to build a common security space, a space that would be all inclusive and legally enshrined.

In spite of the fact that we are far from having a common understanding of joint formulas as to how we should proceed in this situation, it is perfectly clear that we need to start somewhere. We would propose the following. We have structures that make up the present fragmented security space, namely the OSCE, NATO, the European Union, the CIS and the CSTO. Why don’t these organizations come together and identify areas of joint positive interest where they could co-operate in practice? And why don’t they start to co-ordinate their work in these areas? Even if it is just one or two areas, ensuring border security, combating drug trafficking, transiting goods to Afghanistan. If we start this kind of practical co-operation at the level of the organizations that currently make up this fragmented security space, gradually we will build a common security space. I believe that this is feasible.

In conclusion, I should like to say that many have spoken yesterday and today about how all this looks to the voters. It seems to me that in the eyes of the voters there is another topic that is worrying everyone and in which the OSCE should play a greater role: the issue of energy security. How to co-ordinate interests and how to fairly reconcile the interests of supplier, transit and consumer countries. Here too we have no ready-made formulas. It is unlikely that anyone has them. However, we believe this is a niche, so to speak, where it would make sense for the OSCE to work.

Thank you.

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