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Statement by the Bulgarian CEI Presidency and the CEI-Executive Secretariat on the suspension of the Republic of Belarus from the Central European Initiative

On 25 March 2022, the CEI Member States decided to suspend the Republic of Belarus of its rights of representation in the CEI, as a consequence of the country's actions in support of the aggression against Ukraine.

These actions constitute a serious violation by the Republic of Belarus of its obligations under Article 2 of the CEI Guidelines and Rules of Procedure. They go against the principles of the UN Charter, of the Helsinki process/OSCE and of the declarations and documents from the meetings of the Heads of Government and the Foreign Ministers of the CEI, including the joint commitment to “the respect for the principles of international law, including the guiding principles of the OSCE, notably the territorial integrity of the CEI Member States.”

The conduct of the Republic of Belarus undermines the implementation of the CEI’s mission and diminishes the results achieved in promoting dialogue and cooperation among its countries, especially taking into consideration the fact that both the Republic of Belarus and Ukraine are CEI Member States.

With this decision, the Republic of Belarus is suspended from its rights to participate in all activities and projects of the Organisation until it is possible to resume cooperation, based on respect of the CEI guiding principles, or until, should the violations persist, the Heads of Government decide to cease the membership of the Republic of Belarus in the CEI.   

Insofar as the Republic of Belarus has been playing an active role as a CEI Member State since 1996 and it also held the CEI Presidency in 2017, the Bulgarian CEI Presidency and the CEI-Executive Secretariat are hopeful that political clout and common sense will prevail, making it possible for the Republic of Belarus to re-join the Member States in pursuit of the CEI’s mission.

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