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Statement by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Y.Ambrazevich at the meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council (November 30, 2023, Skopje)


Dear Madam Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,

Ordinary people in our countries believe that the purpose of our meetings is to solve important problems. I am glad that a number of statements today met these expectations.

Unfortunately, most of the NATO and European Union states have slipped into repeating well-known cliches and far-fetched unfounded political accusations against the Republic of Belarus in the well-known and convenient “highly likely” manner. I really didn’t want to start my speech exercising the “right of reply”, but I will comment on a couple of things.

First. In response to the deep concern of a number of European Union countries about the observance of human rights in Belarus, I would like to note that none of our critics in this room will convince me that the human rights situation in their countries is better. To make sure that I am right, it is enough to get acquainted with the results of the Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council for each of the Western countries. If this is not enough, I suggest that the Maltese Chairmanship include an analogue of the UPR for OSCE members in their work program in the OSCE. I suggest starting with Latvia.

The second point is regarding the accusations or assumptions made about the forced displacement or deportation of children from Ukraine. The answer here is very short. No one gave us a single surname. We are waiting.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

An international conference on Eurasian Security was held in Minsk in October 2023. Many of its participants agreed that the main problem of European security is the dilemma between the principle of indivisibility of security and the principle of state sovereignty to determine foreign policy.

The Belarusian recipe for solving this problem has long been no secret. Let me remind you of the logic of our reasoning.

Every state is an external factor in someone’s security because we are all interconnected. Critical needs and dependencies that threaten our security and the possibilities of our development determine the area of our interest and influence. By operating in this area, we ensure our primary needs and protect our legitimate interests.

Thus, the absence of spheres of interest or influence is a myth, it is a denial of reality. These zones are predetermined for us. This is a given. This is real politics. Unwillingness to be in someone’s sphere of influence is, of course, your right, but it will not change the opinion of those who consider you as a factor of their security.  

Depending on the circumstances, geography, history, economy, and so on, everyone can be in the area of interests of one, two or more partners. For someone, the area of interest may include only one neighbor, for someone – half of the globe.

Thus, each Government should understand that its rights, interests and actions affect other players to one degree or another, that their sovereignty and freedoms are not absolute and often contradict the legitimate interests of other parties.

The refusal to take into account that you are in someone’s zone of influence, the refusal to take into account someone’s legitimate interests affected by your actions, the refusal to engage in dialogue with the affected party in order to find mutually acceptable solutions with it in case of contradictions is the main cause of interstate conflicts.

Someone believes that they can strengthen their security by unilateral actions, simply excluding an inconvenient neighbor from the process, simply build a fence, impose economic restrictions, and stop air traffic.

However, such actions lead to an impasse in relations, to an escalation of tension, to a deepening of distrust. As a result, everyone suffers.

 So, the mentioned dilemma is solved simply:  

1) we must recognize that we are all so different, have the right to exist, are a factor of someone’s security and enter the zone of someone’s interests or, if you want, influence,

2) we need proactive and responsible consideration and respect for the legitimate interests of the parties affected by our actions,

3) we need to find a mutually acceptable solution to the contradictions through negotiations.  

This is exactly how Belarus has always acted in all, I stress, all areas of its foreign policy, demonstrating a responsible approach to objective reality.

All our actions, including the suspension of the CFE Treaty and the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons, are retaliatory and forced. I was asked by colleagues here, “do you feel that someone is threatening you?” And how can we assess the economic sanctions against 70% of our exports, the almost complete closure of borders from the west and north, the cessation of air traffic, rail traffic, and so on? Is it not aggression? I asked if we had the right to act more than to express concern. “No, you have to negotiate.” I think the comparison is clear.  

Unfortunately, the overall dynamics of relations in European security, especially after the collapse of the USSR, have been determined for many years by the players West of Vienna, as they say in the OSCE.

Unfortunately, they acted solely in their own unilateral interests, ignoring the concerns of others. They bear the brunt of responsibility for the current security crisis.

But Belarus does not participate in the OSCE in order to accuse someone. We do this with the sole purpose of guaranteeing our national security not against anyone, but together with everyone.

That is why, as before, we call on all interested parties to engage in dialogue and negotiations. The Belarusian side is confident that we are able to work out the principles of our peaceful coexistence not only in Europe, but also in Eurasia. It is becoming obvious to everyone that in the 21st century, European security is inseparable from Eurasian security. These principles should restore the indivisibility of security, take into account the concerns of all parties without exception, and ultimately guarantee the safety of everyone.

Belarus invites all interested parties to begin urgent work on such a document in the spirit of Helsinki and in the spirit of San Francisco. In the near future, we will share its elements with everyone.

Thank you for your attention.

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