Updated at 14:13,22-06-2018

Bundestag to work with Belarus Parliament. Ban on official contacts lifted

belsat.eu, Tut.by

Bundestag to work with Belarus Parliament. Ban on official contacts lifted
Oliver Kaczmarek and Mikhail Myasnikovich, photos from the press service of the Council of Republic
The Bundestag will officially work with both chambers of the Belarusian parliament. Informal taboo on contacts with the House of Representatives has been lifted. Members of the German parliament Oliver Kaczmarek and Ute Finckh-Krämer, who came to Minsk on a three-day visit, said so in an interview with Tut.by.

It was the first time that the delegation of the Bundestag had an official level meeting with colleagues not only from the Council of the Republic (the upper house), including Mikhail Myasnikovich, but also with members of the House of Representatives — it was represented at the meeting by Vital Busko. Traditionally, European MPs have avoided official contacts, not recognizing the House of Representatives as the legitimate parliament.

“This is the result of political steps taken over the past year. I’m talking about the release of political prisoners, peaceful elections in Minsk and constructive role in resolving the situation in Ukraine,” said Oliver Kaczmarek.

From the previous OSCE report on presidential elections in Belarus the Bundestag deputies concluded that they had not gone perfectly, but with little progress.

“Further cooperation will depend on how the OSCE recommendations will be carried out,” said Ute Finckh-Krämer.

Responding to a question about whether the format of the visit is the recognition of the Belarusian parliament by the Bundestag, the MP stressed:

“There is no such formal act as recognition of Parliament. But after studying the final OSCE report on the election, we will, most likely, for the first time in many years, extend an invitation to your deputies to come to Berlin. This is a sign that the Belarusian parliament was at least to some degree selected properly”.

Civil society expresses criticizm

In the early days of the new Belarusian parliament, there will be formed a Bundestag friendship group, said Mikhail Myasnikovich at the meeting.

According to Ute Finckh-Krämer, there are no reasons for the Belarusian deputies to not be represented in the parliamentary dimension of the Eastern Partnership (Euronest) in contrast to their colleagues from other Eastern European countries.

Oliver Kaczmarek recognizes that progress in relations with Belarus is criticized by some members of the civil society:

“Our dialogue does not mean that we have abandoned the criticism. Belarus makes small steps, we make small steps. And to continue this process, we are, of course, waiting for reciprocal steps from the Belarusian side, steady movement forward. A window has opened for dialogue, and we want to use it”.

Parliamentary elections were held in Belarus on 11 September. According to their results, for the first time in 12 years the House of Representatives will have two opposition activists — Alena Anisim and Hanna Kanapatskaya. OSCE observers said that the elections still did not meet democratic standards, but in some areas there was little progress.