At the meeting with the members of the Commission on National Security of the Parliament of Belarus, members of the National Defence Committee and the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) emphasised the need for a constructive and honest dialogue and the importance of democratic values, and expressed support for the integration of Belarus with the European Union.
Chairman of the National Defence Committee Hannes Hanso thinks that dialogue with Belarus is very important. “Belarus is a country that balances between the West and Russia,” Hanso said. “Our relations with Belarus are complicated for reasons that do not depend on us, and most probably this situation will not change in the nearest future. But all this does not have to mean that we automatically also preclude any dialogue with Belarus. To a great extent, it depends on our attitude what the role of Belarus in future Europe will be like.”
Hanso said that this was the reason why it was important to share our experience of building up a democratic country and support the cooperation and integration of Belarus with the European Union within the framework of the Eastern Partnership.
Hanso considers the fact that since July this year, citizens of Estonia and the residents of Estonia who have an alien’s passport and a permanent residence permit can stay in Belarus without a visa for 30 days if they enter the country through Minsk Airport a positive development in bilateral relations.
Vice Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Jaak Madison pointed out at the meeting that it was necessary for Estonia to increase readiness for cooperation with Belarus. He also spoke of the concern the activities of Russia in Belarus and East Ukraine caused.
Worrisome military exercises organised by Russia, the role of conscripts in national defence and the involving of women in national defence, as well as the possibilities of resolving the tense situation in Ukraine, the neighbouring country of Belarus, were also discussed at the meeting.
The meeting was also attended by members of the National Defence Committee Johannes Kert and Ants Laaneots.
The visit of the Commission on National Security of the Parliament of Belarus will continue tomorrow with meetings at the Naval Base, the Information System Authority and the Estonian Academy of Security Services. On Wednesday, the discussion on drug policy will be held at the Riigikogu.
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