This international workshop has been organized by the Foreign Policy and Security Research Center in collaboration with the NATO Public Diplomacy Division. Attending the event are Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia in NATO Indulis Berzins (Latvian Embassy is currently the NATO contact point in Belarus), Dean of the International Relations Department at Belarusian State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences Viktor Shadursky, and also recognized experts, diplomats, representatives of public organizations and associations, and Belarusian universities. The workshop focuses on the topics “NATO and the post-Soviet states in 2016” and “NATO's role in the international security system in 2016”. The international event is attended by about 60 who have gathered to discuss topical issues of international security.
In international security matters a lot also depends on small countries like Belarus. The statement was made by Latvia's Permanent Representative in NATO Indulis Berzins during the international seminar “International security and NATO in 2016” on 15 December. The Latvian diplomat noted that major players, large powers deal with many matters but a lot also depends on small countries like Belarus and Latvia. He said he believes that Belarus' role in international security matters and the resolution of regional conflicts is very large. “Without Belarus the world as we know would have been different,” said the NATO Permanent Representative. He specified that Minsk had become an influential platform for discussing the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis. In his opinion, even if no considerable progress is secured in negotiations, negotiations and dialogue are better than any conflict. “Unfortunately, countries could use more trust in each other. It is a shame that countries no longer trust each other. It is necessary to organize meetings and talk to each other in order to restore trust,” Indulis Berzins was convinced.
Functions of the NATO contact embassy in Belarus will pass from Latvia to Estonia. The statement was made by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia to Belarus Martins Virsis. The Lithuanian diplomat thanked the Belarusian side for attention to international security matters. “Latvia welcomes Belarus' cooperation with NATO on terms of equality and dialogue,” stated Martins Virsis. In his words, although the Latvian embassy will no longer act as NATO's contact embassy, the embassy intends to continue supporting Belarusian efforts. In his opinion, the efforts help bolster security in the region. The Ambassador of Latvia also said he believes that the seminar was also aimed at advancing the dialogue on international affairs and at expanding contacts between experts.
Belarus has become a major venue and mechanism for resolving regional security problems, Candidate of Historical Sciences Andrei Rusakovich, chairman of the board of the Foreign Policy and Security Research Center, said. “One of the key security problems is the need for aligning the interests of various players in the key issues of international security,” Andrei Rusakovich said. In his view, today there are many problems (the Ukrainian crisis, Syria, terrorism, refugees) that affect the situation in the world. This is why such attention is given to the settlement of conflicts and maintenance of peace and security.
To ensure international security, it is very important to establish a dialogue that would involve all participants of the international process, Dean of the International Relations Department at Belarusian State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences Viktor Shadursky said. “Security is the main priority for every country,” Viktor Shadursky stressed. In the present-day context, matters of peace and security have come to the fore. Referring to the opinions of politicians and experts, Viktor Shadursky emphasized the turbulence of the current period and the urgency of the challenges that the international community is facing. Viktor Shadursky believes that any period is unique in terms of international security. “History shows that large conflicts are followed by a balance. Unfortunately, a calm and balanced period is followed by a series of conflicts, when new players start pitting their strengths against one another. When they finally see the pointlessness of that, they establish a dialogue and reach a compromise. Unfortunately, the parties to conflicts in the region have not yet realized the need of a compromise,” the expert said. Viktor Shadursky believes that “big players create conflicts, and it is small countries who suffer”. Dialogue is always needed if we want to settle conflicts and achieve peace, he added.