CoE for efficient dialog with Belarus authorities on democratization

STRASSBOURG, April 17 (Itar-Tass) -- The Council of Europe is not at all seeking to isolate Belarus, Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's subcommittee for Belarus Andreas Herkel (Estonia) said on Tuesday.

It is more likely a question of Belarussian self-isolation, he said at a news conference on the sidelines of PACE session that discusses the Belarus democratization strategy.

Representatives of the Belarussian opposition - Alexander Milinkevich and Anatoly Lebedko - are attending the discussion.

In the opinion of Herkel, it is necessary to create conditions for efficient dialog to this effect with the Belarussian leadership.

Milinkevich expressed hope that the Council of Europe will help to promote European values and experience of democratic reforms in Belarus.

Lebedko, in turn, voiced an opinion that the Council of Europe pays insufficient attention to the problem of Belarus. He proposed to hold a conference and a roundtable discussion on the Belarus issue in Strasbourg.

"We think it wise to invite Belarussian representatives of different views to such discussions," Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachyov told Itar-Tass, adding, "Our opinion was neglected."

"As for me, this fact will not make the discussion multifaceted," he said. "It would be a mistake for such a respected organization, as the Council of Europe, to stake on opposition only," the official said.

"We should learn to cooperate with the acting authorities, even if we do not agree with them in some spheres," Kosachev said.