Powers assume clear responsibility

Belarus taking on chairmanship of CIS
By Kirill Dovlatov

Meeting the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, the CIS Executive Secretary, Sergey Lebedev, noted that the Executive Committee has sent letters suggesting Belarus’ chairmanship to all CIS countries. According to preliminary information, there are no objections.

Belarus’ stance is one of responsibility, with Mr. Lukashenko remarking that he knows of the existing problems within the CIS and can view them objectively. “You know our position, and we will act in this context. We believe that every CIS state should bear its burden. If there are problems with the presidency, you can always rely on Belarus; we host the headquarters of the CIS — its integration centre. We are primarily responsible for this.”

Belarus’ view on integration is also well-known, as the President explained, “We do not view states as being outside the integration process. No economy can exist independently — even that of Russia. The whole world is developing in this direction. This is why we’ll guide our policy appropriately.”

During the meeting, talk turned to the upcoming parliamentary elections. Mr. Lukashenko stressed, “We won’t hide anything, as you know. We want to conduct elections in an open, transparent manner, with dignity. The most important thing is that the elections should be legitimate. Of course, all depends on how much freewill people have. We’ve conducted a series of training and information sessions and have formed the institutions hosting elections, with the nomination of candidates begun. We’ll do everything to the highest standard.”

The President of Belarus has invited the CIS mission to observe the elections. He told Mr. Lebedev, “We always welcome the mission of the CIS with pleasure and want you to head it, as usual, because your credibility is very high in Belarus, across all institutions.”

The Chairman of CIS Executive Committee emphasised that the formation of the CIS mission has already begun, with long-term observation to be conducted by about 30 people. On voting days, there will be about 300 observers from the Commonwealth. Division headquarters for the mission are planned for all regions and Mr. Lebedev is confident of the success of the monitoring.

“Our previous experience of observation shows that, as a rule, we receive full support from all structures of power in Belarus and from the Central Election Commission. There is no reason to believe that our mission won’t be able to fulfil its responsibilities.” The CIS mission will liaise with observers from the OSCE, and various international western organisations. Mr. Lebedev is convinced that such contacts are useful, saying, “Experience shows that such contacts allow the exchange of views, giving us a more objective assessment of electoral processes taking place in the Commonwealth. I think the same thing will happen in Belarus.”
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