22 January 2018, Monday, 23:23

Regime refuses to open OSCE Office in Minsk


The Belarusian authorities have not changed their position on the OSCE Office in Minsk.

The issue was not discussed officially and Belarus's position on resuming the work of the OSCE Office in Minsk remains unchanged, Belarusian MFA spokesman Andrei Savinykh said Tuesday at a briefing in Minsk, Interfax news agency reports.

“We didn't have any official negotiations on the issue. The OSCE Office terminated its activity in Minsk 18 months ago after expiration of its mandate,” Savinykh said to journalists' remark that the head of the OSCE observation mission had held official talks with the Belarusian authorization on possible resuming OSCE Office work in Minsk.

“From a practical point of view, we consider the decision to close the OSCE Office in Minsk as a way to optimize the OSCE  regular budget spending. The program activity of the Organization began to receive more money,” Savinykh stressed.  

The head of the OSCE Bureau for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Janez Lenarcic, who arrived in Belarus to monitor the “parliamentary elections”, expressed a hope for resuming Office's work in Minsk.

It was much easier for the Bureau to cooperate with Belarus when the OSCE mission was in the country, because it helped to establish contacts and provided support, Lenarcic noted. ”Without the mission we are on our own, which is much more difficult,” the ODIHR head said.

The OSCE Office in Minsk was closed by a decision of the Belarusian authorities in December 2010 after the organization did not recognize the results of the presidential election and said about numerous violations  during the election campaign.