The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest regional organization, which consists of 56 participating States, including all European countries, the CIS states, the US and Canada.
The OSCE mandate covers a wide range of issues within the politico-military, economic and environmental and human dimensions: combating terrorism, arms control, confidence and security-building measures, ensuring economic and environmental security, development of democratic institutions, rule of law and protection of human rights. All decisions within the OSCE are taken by consensus. All participating States have an equal status.
The OSCE's comprehensive approach to security and a wide range of participants make the Organization an important and unique international forum for political dialogue.
The Republic of Belarus has been a full-fledged member of the OSCE since January 30, 1992. Upon entering the OSCE the Republic of Belarus joined such fundamental documents as the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe.
The Republic of Belarus actively participates in the processes of elaborating and adopting OSCE decisions and documents, thus making its contribution into development of the European dialogue on security and cooperation issues.
The Republic of Belarus participates in the Organization's activities within the framework of the OSCE Permanent Council, the Forum for Security Cooperation, the Joint Consultative Group and the Open Skies Consultative Commission, as well as through practical implementation of the OSCE principles and mechanisms stipulated in the basic documents of the Organization.
In 2003 under the chairmanship of a representative of Belarus the OSCE Strategy Document for the Economic and Environmental Dimension was drafted and adopted at the OSCE Ministerial in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
In April-June 2005, the Republic of Belarus successfully chaired the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation and in September-December 2008 Belarus chaired the Open Skies Consultative Commission.
Representatives of the Republic of Belarus take part in the meetings of the Minsk Group within the framework of the negotiation process on a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. They also work in the OSCE Missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo as well as in the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna.
The National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus is taking full part in the activities of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The Delegation of the Belarusian Parliament participates in regular OSCE PA Meetings and Sessions, continues interaction with the OSCE PA Working Group on Belarus.
In 2007 the Republic of Belarus jointly with the other Member States of the Collective Security Treaty Organization elaborated and introduced a draft OSCE Charter for consideration by the OSCE collective bodies.
In 2009 the Republic of Belarus actively joined in the unfolding debate within the OSCE on the future of the European security architecture. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Sergei Martynov took part in the informal meeting of the OSCE participating States’ Foreign Ministers on the Corfu Island (Greece) at the end of June 2009, which initiated the so-called Corfu Process – a broad dialogue within the OSCE on issues of European security and functioning of the Organization itself.
In the course of the Corfu Process the Republic of Belarus has been consistently bringing to its OSCE partners Belarus’ priorities and proposals on the whole range of European security issues, promoting specific initiatives to reform the Organization. Permanent Representative of Belarus to the OSCE acted as Coordinator for the Corfu debates on economic and environmental security challenges.
The informal meeting of foreign ministers of the OSCE participating States in Almaty (Kazakhstan) in mid-July 2010 was a significant stage in the dialogue on European security. As a result agreement was reached to hold an OSCE Summit in 2010.
The meeting of Heads of States and Governments of the OSCE participating States, held in Astana (Kazakhstan) on 1-2 December, turned to be a key OSCE event in the 21st century. The OSCE summit was attended by President of Belarus Mr. Aleksandr Lukashenko. On the margins of the Summit a Joint Statement of Belarus and the U.S. was adopted on cooperation in the sphere of nuclear safety and non-proliferation.
The Republic of Belarus further develops pragmatic and constructive co-operation with OSCE Institutions – Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Representative on Freedom of the Media, as well as the OSCE Secretariat, including the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and Special Representative and Co-ordinator for combating trafficking in human beings. In particular, in 2009-2010, the Republic of Belarus was heavily involved in a dialogue with the OSCE ODIHR in the context of improving the Belarusian electoral legislation.
In 1998-2002 in Belarus there functioned the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group, and in 2003-2010 the OSCE Office in Minsk was operating. A number of joint projects of international technical assistance were implemented through these field operations.
Since 2007 a joint project of the OSCE-UNDP “Capacity Building for small arms and light weapons (SALW) control and ensuring their safe storage” is being implemented in Belarus, developed in response to a formal request of the Belarusian side for assistance from the OSCE participating States. The project aims at strengthening safety of the SALW storage and improving stockpile management of this type of weapons at the facilities of the Ministry of Defence of Belarus.
In 1992 the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Belarus to the OSCE was established and has been operating since then in Vienna (Austria) .
The participation in the OSCE activities is of principal significance for Belarus. OSCE is an important forum for Belarus to promote its foreign policy initiatives and maintain dialogue with key European structures.
The Republic of Belarus actively supports the priority role of the OSCE in conflict settlement within its area of responsibility, stipulated by the Charter for European Security, based on the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the participating States.
The Republic of Belarus is interested in a wider use of the scope and potential of the OSCE with a view to strengthening security in the Euro-Atlantic area and to creating favourable conditions for the development of cooperation.
In this regard the Republic of Belarus traditionally positions itself as one of the most active and consistent supporters of a comprehensive reform of the OSCE and elimination of current misbalances and shortcomings in the Organization's activities. The main goal is to transform the OSCE into a full-fledged efficient international organization, acting in the interests of all participating States.