Belarus to preside over Central European Initiative in 2017
MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus will preside over the Central European Initiative in 2017, the press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BelTA following the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Central European Initiative in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
“The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Central European Initiative adopted a consensus decision on the Presidency of the Republic of Belarus in the CEI in 2017. It is the first time that Belarus will preside over this European regional organization,” the press service informed. Bosnia and Herzegovina is holding the presidency in 2016.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CEI Member States discussed the situation in the region and prospects for the further development of the CEI. The discussion focused on the issues related to the migration crisis in Europe, combating organized crime, fighting human trafficking and corruption, expanding cross-border and regional cooperation, development of transport and energy infrastructure, ensuring macroeconomic stability and attracting investment.
In his statement during the plenary session of the ministerial meeting Belarus' Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei underlined the significance of the CEI as an instrumental and meaningful platform for developing dialogue and pragmatic cooperation in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe with the aim to enhance stability in the region. Special emphasis was made on the importance of making full use of the Organization's potential in fostering sustainable economic development and improving relations.
During its CEI Presidency in 2017 Belarus plans to pay particular attention to the connectivity and complementarity of various integration processes in Europe in the context of simplifying trade, harmonizing standards and procedures, developing transport and logistics. At the same time efforts will be continued to ensure a balanced geographic approach in the CEI's activities, and to expand its outreach and interaction with other international and regional organizations.
Vladimir Makei held a series of working meetings on the sidelines of the event. He met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Crnadak, Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz, Moldova Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Lilian Darii and the CEI's Secretary General Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri. The parties discussed the modalities of further interaction during Belarus Presidency in the CEI, and relevant issues of bilateral cooperation.
The Central European Initiative is a regional organization founded in 1989 by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia. At present the CEI unites 18 countries (Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine). Belarus joined the CEI in 1996.