Belarus has decided not to extend the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)'s office in Minsk, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
"It should be noted that this is a conscious decision, based on the absence of objective justification for maintaining the OSCE mission in Belarus," Foreign Ministry press secretary Andrei Savinykh said. "This position for several years has been described in official statements of the Belarusian side."
"The Belarusian side highly appreciates the consistent efforts of office staff to implement joint projects. Sure that the activities of the office has made an important contribution to improving the working practices of state institutions in Belarus", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Savinykh said that Belarus' decision to terminate the office in Minsk will not reduce the level of interaction between Belarus and the OSCE.
"On the contrary, we are ready to strengthen and improve practical cooperation with the OSCE in all areas of the program activities of the organization," said the official.