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Statement by Sergei Martynov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, at the OSCE Ministerial Council (Helsinki, 4–5 December 2008)

Dear Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Colleagues,

Human being, his or her life and security are our common highest values. Exactly for the reason to provide security and well-being of each and every person our states joined their efforts in the framework of the Helsinki process more than 30 years ago. Born here in Helsinki this process has largely modified the history and contributed to the crucial changes in Euro-Atlantic area.

Unfortunately, despite real progress in reaching the aims we had set in front of us, today we are still far from ideal and secure world.

Tragic events in the Caucasus in August, use of force in the OSCE regionin political sense mean inadequacy of the existing architecture of European security, its incapacity to prevent new conflicts, bloodshed and death of people, to guarantee their security.

Nowadays we witness further erosion of the fundamental principles of international law. Important arms control regimes in Europe, such as CFE Treaty, are being undermined. We see attempts of some states to strengthen their security at the expense of others in the region. The logic of bloc confrontation reappears. This is a dangerous logic. In general the feeling of security, stability and predictability is weakening.

The existing state of affairs requires a serious analysis and rethinking. Quite evidently it’s high time for an open and fair discussion regarding the principles on which our common security should be built in the future.

In this context Belarus welcomes and supports the initiative by the Russian Federation to elaborate a Treaty on European Security. We consider this initiative timely and opportune and we are looking forward to a concrete discussion on this issue in the near future.

There is a vital necessity for a new regional legally binding instrument, which could ensure equal security for all the States in the Euro-Atlantic area.

Such a treaty based on the principle of indivisible and comprehensive security could give all of us necessary security guarantees, could create efficient control mechanisms over the observance of concluded agreements, and could fix collective responsibility for security of each Party.

We welcome the proposal to hold a Summit, which could become a ground for a broad and open dialogue to refurbish the Euro-Atlantic security system. At such a Summit, — in our understanding and in understanding of our CSTO colleagues, — both the OSCE Participating States and international security organizations existing in Europe could take part.

Talking of the role of our common Organization – OSCE, I should note with regret that it has not yet succeeded in overcoming the crisis developments that took shape in recent years.

As a result of refusal from real OSCE reforming we have today anorganization incapable of providing in practice effective solutions to the key security issues.

Being her in Helsinki one cannot overlook that the OSCE, unfortunately, moves away from the mandate of Helsinki. Its artificial contraction, both functional and geographical, and its loose interpretation negatively tell on the authority of organization and its effectiveness.

Belarus advocates the balanced OSCE agenda across all three dimensions of security.

In particular, among perspective activities of the OSCE in the field of counteracting new challenges and threats, in our opinion, must remain the topic of the protection of critical energy infrastructure from terrorist attacks.

In the economic and environmental dimension our Organization could become a catalyst for a dialogue on technologies of alternative and renewable sources of energy, energy savings in the OSCE region, could contribute to the elaboration of programs of effective transfer of know-how to the requesting States.

There is a need for a substantial modernization of politico-military instruments of the OSCE, first of all in order to efficiently react to conflict situations.

Our proposals on institutional reform remain also on the negotiating table, and we sincerely count on continuation of the dialogue on this subject. Let me underscore once again: these proposals are aimed not at limiting whatsoever the Organization’s activities, but exclusively at its strengthening.

I would like to emphasize the importance of completion of the process of OSCE transformation into a full-fledged international organization that would possess all relevant attributes. We welcome the evolving flexibility in positions of a number of participating States in relation to the elaboration of the OSCE Charter. The progress in this respect will also bring us closer to the adoption of the Convention on the legal personality, legal capacity, privileges and immunities of the OSCE.


Mr. Chairman,

The renovated and reinforced OSCE, capable of reacting adequately and quickly to challenges and threats, will become an important and integral element of a new European security architecture and will be called for.

We agree with those who consider it is time to think of holding an OSCE Summit. In order to make it productive, uniting and not dividing, serious preparations should be undertaken.

In conclusion let me join the words of gratitude to the Finnish Chairmanship and personally to Minister Stubb for a significant input into the OSCE activities and for the hospitality offered to all of us here in Helsinki.

I would also like to wish Greece a successful work in chairing the OSCE in 2009.

Thank you for your attention.

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