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14 Dec 2017

Belarus discusses implementation of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in Geneva

MINSK, 14 December (BelTA) – A Belarusian delegation is taking part in the 31st session of the special control commission on the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) in Geneva, Switzerland on 12-14 December, BelTA learned from Dmitry Mironchik, Head of the Information Office, Press Secretary of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said: “Belarus believes that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which aimed to eliminate an entire class of missile weapon systems, remains a cornerstone of international security.”

In his words, as a legal successor Belarus responsibly honors its commitments as part of the INF Treaty and takes every step to perpetuate and reinforce the treaty.

Delegations from Kazakhstan, Russia, the USA, and Ukraine are also taking part in the session of the special control commission.

Apart from that, the 16th meeting of the countries parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention will take place in Vienna, Austria on 18-21 December. A Belarusian delegation will take part in the event.

Dmitry Mironchik reminded that as of the date Belarus joined the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (aka the Ottawa Convention) in 2003 the country had the world’s seventh largest inventory of antipersonnel mines — about 4 million units. PFM-1 type mines represented an absolute majority of that figure. “Back then there was no safe and reliable technology for getting rid of such mines. Nevertheless, we went ahead and signed the convention and did everything to honor our commitments,” said the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman.

Dmitry Mironchik specified that in 2017 Belarus fully destroyed the entire stockpile of the antipersonnel mines prohibited by the Ottawa Convention. “The accomplishment represents another concrete and very important contribution of Belarus to disarmament, enhancement of international peace and security. Work in this direction represents another example of how Belarus-EU international technical aid projects can be effectively implemented to mutual benefit,” stressed the official.

“Those of you, who regularly attend press conferences after sessions of the trilateral contact group [on the situation in Ukraine’s southeast], hear that the problem of unexploded remnants of military action, unexploded mines is very urgent,” added the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman.

Belarus has also initiated the organization of an event in Vienna to discuss problems of sustainable development and a world free from antipersonnel mines. Representatives of the European Union, Austria, Poland, and several other countries have already confirmed they will take part in the event.


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