Doc. 9230

25 September 2001

Situation in Belarus

Recommendation 1441 (2000)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 765th bis meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (21 September 2001)

1.       The Committee of Ministers follows developments in Belarus, in close co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly.

2.       The Committee of Ministers keeps Council of Europe activities open for Belarus, which it still considers as an applicant state for membership. It invites Belarusian experts to observe those Steering Committees in which they express an interest. The Belarusian representative in Strasbourg attends GR-EDS meetings whenever Belarus is discussed. Co-operation activities give priority to support for civil society and independent media.

3.       The Committee of Ministers upholds a strict respect for the statutory conditions for membership. It is for the Belarusian authorities to take the steps that would allow the Assembly to lift the suspension of the special guest status.

4.       The Committee of Ministers supports the Parliamentary troika, a symbol and a working tool of the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in support of democracy in Belarus. Since the establishment of the Troika, the Committee of Ministers regularly exchanges views with the Assembly representatives in the Troika.

5.       The Committee of Ministers stands ready to help with the democratisation process in Belarus, in the light of the conclusions of the International Limited Election Observation Mission for the 2001 presidential election and of the four criteria established by the Parliamentary Troika. It would welcome in this respect an early consideration by the Belarusian Parliament of its own functions and powers.

6.       As far as the proposal in paragraph 15 iv is concerned, the Committee of Ministers could consider it in the light of the developments in the democratisation process. In the meantime, the Embassy of the country representing the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers will act as a Council of Europe contact point in Belarus.

7.       The Committee of Ministers is in favour of a constructive dialogue within civil society in Belarus and between the authorities and the international community with a view to facilitating the process of democratic transition.