Parliamentarians meet Belarusian civil society in Vilnius

VILNIUS, 7 December 2011 – Vilija Aleknaite Abramikiene (Lithuania), rapporteur of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Political Affairs and Security, hosted a discussion Wednesday with experts, parliamentarians and civil society from Belarus alongside the Ministerial Council in Vilnius.

This meeting provided parliamentarians the chance to meet face to face with Belarusian opposition and gain first-hand knowledge about the political, civil and economic situation in Belarus. Leaders of the OSCE PA's Working Group on Belarus have not been allowed to visit Minsk since the arrest and detention of opposition politicians following the December 2010 presidential elections.

"If we are going to address economic or environmental concerns or the rights of civil society head-on, then we need to have the full regional picture one can only see through these sorts of expert meetings," said Aleknaite Abramikiene.

The following bureau members also attended the event organized by the Lithuanian Parliament: Tony Lloyd (United Kingdom), Karl-Georg Wellman (Germany), Matteo Mecacci (Italy), Riccardo Migliori (Italy) and Serhiy Shevchuk (Ukraine).

Meeting participants included Emanuelis Zingeris, chairman of the Seimas Foreign Affairs Committee, and president of the Community of Democracies Parliamentary Forum, and foreign affairs committee member Egidijus Vareikis.

Vytis Jurkonis, senior analyst on Belarus at the Vilnius-based Eastern Europe Studies Centre addressed future scenarios for Belarus. Economist Leonid Zaiko, director of the analytical centre "Strategy" in Belarus addressed the economic downturn and how financial considerations factor into the potential for political reform.

The event, hosted by the Lithuanian Parliament, was organized by the Eastern Europe Studies Centre, European Humanities University and the OSCE PA.

Participants from United Belarus (Belarus opposition representative office in Vilnius) and Belarus Human Rights House attended the event as well as environmental activists from the city of Astraviec, Belarus, where plans are underway to build a nuclear energy plant near the Belarus-Lithuania border.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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