MINSK, December 31 (Itar-Tass) -- Belarus did not extend the mandate of the OSCE office in Minsk, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said on Friday.
He said it was a conscious move based "on the absence of objective reasons for keeping the OSCE mission in Belarus."
A number of significant projects have been implemented since 2003, the year when the OSCE mission started to operate in Belarus, Savinykh said. OSCE experts and Belarus successfully cooperated in alternative energy resources, tourism and rehabilitation of areas stricken by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. They also gave much attention to the development of efficient mechanisms in the interaction between state and public organizations, municipal laws and suppression of trafficking in human beings, he said.
"Belarus values the consistent efforts of mission members in the fulfillment of joint projects," the diplomat said. He also noted that the mission had made an important contribution to the improved operation of state institutions in Belarus.
At the same time, "an evaluation of the results achieved by the OSCE mission in Minsk shows that the mission has fulfilled its mandate," he said. "The Belarusian decision to stop the work of the OSCE mission in Minsk will not reduce the level of interaction with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. On the contrary, we are ready to strengthen and to make more effective the interaction with OSCE institutions in any spheres of the organization's activity," he said.