Belarus has decided to end the mandate of the OSCE field mission, explains the Foreign Ministry’s Press Secretary, Andrei Savinykh. He asserts that ‘the OSCE Office’s results testify to its mandate having been fulfilled’.
In seven years of operation, many joint projects have been implemented, including in the fields of alternative energy development, rural tourism and restoration of Chernobyl-affected regions. Additionally, special attention has been paid to creating efficient mechanisms of interaction between state and public organisations, developing legislation for local self-government and counteracting human trafficking. “Belarus highly appreciates the efforts made by OSCE staff to realise joint projects,” stresses Mr. Savinykh, adding that OSCE activity has helped improve the work of state institutions.
Similar OSCE offices have closed in recent years in Latvia, Estonia and Georgia, having completed their mandate. However, interaction shall continue successfully via direct contacts with the OSCE. Mr. Savinykh emphasises, “We are ready to strengthen and enhance the efficiency of our practical interaction, in all avenues of the organisation’s programme activity.” Belarus is actively participating in the organisation’s work, with President Lukashenko, speaking at the OSCE Summit in Astana in December, noted that the OSCE needs reforming.
The Director of the BSU’s Centre for International Studies, Vladimir Ulakhovich, believes, “Belarus’ decision not to extend the work of the OSCE Office in Minsk should not be construed as the state undervaluing the efforts of this organisation.” Rather, he is certain that the adoption of the OSCE charter — as several states consider appropriate — would clarify the work of certain representations: ‘field missions’. “It’s possible to say that the latter are not as efficient as they could be in fulfilling tasks they supervise. On the other hand, they often go beyond the scope of their mandate; as a result, the question arouses as to how to interpret a mandate,” he adds.