The decision on joining the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which had been taken 10 years ago, opened a new stage in the newest foreign policy history of independent and sovereign Belarus.
The Republic of Belarus, having made a conscious choice in favour of democratic development, joined the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, other major CSCE documents and declared its commitment to the ideas and fundamental principles inscribed in them.
Having become a full-fledged CSCE participating state, our country actively joined the work on strengthening peace and security in the European continent. Belarus endorsed organizational and functional development of the CSCE, its turning into a pivotal regional organization with a wide network of institutions and mechanisms, whose sphere of responsibility extends from Vancouver to Vladivostok and embraces all the security dimensions.
During all these ten years the Republic of Belarus put forward initiatives aimed at strengthening the OSCE role and authority in pre-empting crises, settlement of conflicts and post-conflict restoration of peace and confidence.
In 1992 the Republic of Belarus launched an initiative to establish the Minsk Group for the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict; it was the first country in history to renounce unilaterally its nuclear weapons; it was actively suggesting to extend the scope of the OSCE activity by listing among its priorities the work on establishment of nuclear weapons free zones in Europe. The representatives of Belarus contributed greatly to the strengthening of stability and security in the OSCE region by their involvement in the OSCE field missions.
The constructive and responsible approach of Belarus to development and adoption of the major documents of recent years - the Istanbul 1999 Charter for European Security and the Adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, the Bucharest decisions on combating terrorism and fostering the political dialogue in the OSCE - demonstrates how important it is for Belarus to take part in the work of this all-European organization, to see its becoming a basis of the European security architecture of the 21st century.
Belarus welcomes intensive efforts by the Acting Chairmanship aimed at rectifying the lately emerged biases in the OSCE activity, at fostering the political dialogue and taking into account the opinion of all the participating states, at changing over to the examination of the whole complex of most pressing problems of the all-European development.
Today the OSCE participating states face a great number of problems and challenges, which cannot be coped by any state if it acts alone. We need to strengthen our cooperation in looking for concerted answers to the challenges brought forth by terrorism, organized crime, illegal migration and illicit proliferation of weapons. We are especially interested in further consolidation of the economic and ecological potential of the OSCE.
The Republic of Belarus counts that this year, with the active involvement of the Acting Chairmanship, specific steps will be taken aimed at reforming the OSCE and raising its efficiency, which will help complete the formation of the OSCE as a full-fledged international organization with international legal personality.
Belarus will be continuing to consistently uphold the consolidation of all the components of comprehensive and indivisible security in the OSCE area in full compliance with the spirit of the Helsinki Final Act, other fundamental documents of the OSCE, and it will remain a reliable and responsible partner in the European dialogue, committed to the universal values.
President of the Republic of Belarus