Valentina Matviyenko: MPs should fully support the wish of Russian and Belarusian regions to build partnerships

The Speaker of the Federation Council addressed the opening of a joint meeting of the organising committees on the preparation of the 7th Forum of Belarusian and Russian Regions in Minsk.

Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko addressed the opening of a joint meeting of the organising committees on the preparation of the 7th Forum of Belarusian and Russian Regions. The event took place in Minsk.

“The forum has become an important mechanism for strengthening Russian-Belarusian cooperation; it helps establish long-term mutually beneficial relations between our regions. More than three hundred cooperation agreements worth about two billion dollars have been signed over the course of six years on the sidelines of the forum. And business ties are getting stronger with every passing year.”

The relevance of the regions’ forum and its representative composition not only allow us to compare positions on topical items on the agenda, but also enable us to look into the future and adopt new forms of joint work, noted Valentina Matviyenko.

“A high-level expert session, including representatives of the parliamentary and academic communities, was held as part of the 6th Forum of the regions in St Petersburg last year. The meeting of the national business councils in an expanded format and the Youth Forum were also a success. The work did not stop after the final documents were signed. The cooperation continues in our Interparliamentary Commission, Parliamentary Assembly of the Belarus-Russia Union and at the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Member States of the CIS. The interaction of our countries’ expert communities has also been developing in the parliamentary dimension.”

Our task is to maintain in all ways possible our mutual wish to strengthen friendship and partnership between our countries as well as Russian and Belarusian regions, said the Speaker.

She supported the Belarusian initiative to dedicate the 7th Forum to the historical legacy of the Victory in World War II and its significance for the development of socio-economic and spiritual ties between our peoples. “The subject is sacred; it touches the deepest heartstrings in each of us. Our task is to prevent neglect or distortion of the events of those years. I am sure that pooling the efforts of our countries will make a considerable contribution to the preservation of historical truth.”

The Speaker of the Federation Council suggested that Belarusian colleagues should join the promotion of the Russian Senators’ initiative aimed at the recognition by the international community of the Victory over Nazism in WWII as the World Heritage of humanity and monuments to fighters against Nazism in all countries as a world memorial.

In addition, Valentina Matviyenko urged her colleagues to pay special attention to the development of economic, social and cultural contacts and support young people’s initiatives. The Speaker also proposed thinking about the creation of an official website for the forum with a view to providing information about the work on parliamentary and regional issues in both countries.

Chairperson of the Council of the Republic of the Belarusian National Assembly Natalya Kochanova emphasised that the forum is one of the most fruitful forms of interparliamentary cooperation and interaction between the Federation Council and the Council of the Republic. In her opinion, the forum has become a promising platform for a constructive dialogue, exchange of views and feedback from the regions of both countries. The forum has been attracting more and more ideas, active and enterprising people and representatives of the business community, said Natalya Kochanova.

Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council and Chairman of the forum’s Russian Organising Committee Yuri Vorobyov and Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Republic and Chairman of the forum’s Belarusian Organising Committee Anatoly Isachenko spoke about conceptual aspects of the forum’s draft programme. Heads of specialised commissions and committees of both countries’ parliaments presented their proposals on the agenda of the main events.

The meeting was attended by members of the Federation Council, representatives of the Russian Ministry of Culture, the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, the Permanent Committee of the Union State and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Belarus-Russia Union.