Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Lukashenka brands OSCE «bat in someone's hands»

Alyaksandr Lukashenka condemned on Thursday the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a "bat in someone's hands" used to put pressure on countries ahead of their elections.

Speaking at an OSCE summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Mr. Lukashenka suggested drawing up universal election standards for the organization's member states, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said.

According to the Belarusian leader, "it would be logical to work within the OSCE on approving principles of observing the application of election standards that would be common for all member states."

Mr. Lukashenka also called for easier visa rules within the OSCE region. "One of the priorities in the sphere of human rights is the issue of freedom of movement," he said, noting that the OSCE member states had taken commitments to "simplify contacts between people and freedom of movement." "However, the situation is worse than it was 11 years ago," he concluded.

Mr. Lukashenka described the visa system as a "bureaucratized" procedure that "at times humiliates human dignity" and impedes contacts between people.

He emphasized the need for the OSCE to step up its efforts against human trafficking, which he described as "one of the most important aspects of true human rights." "We believe that the OSCE has a fairly serious expert and organizational potential and could make a more significant contribution to the implementation of a UN global plan of action in this sphere," he was quoted as saying.

Mr. Lukashenka called for the adoption of principles of energy security cooperation. "A big share of strategic challenges for our countries concern economic, environmental and energy security. We suggest drawing up and approving key principles of cooperation in the sphere of energy security, which would reduce the interests of manufacturers, transit countries and consumers to a common denominator," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka said that the OSCE must play a stronger role in strengthening energy infrastructure, developing alternative energy sources and securing access to advanced technologies in the sphere for all countries.