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13 May 2015

Belarusian MPs ratify agreement with Serbia on cooperation in defense

MINSK, 13 May (BelTA) - The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus passed the draft law on the ratification of the intergovernmental Belarusian-Serbian agreement on cooperation in defense, BelTA has learned.

The agreement was signed in Minsk on 18 March 2015. According to the document, the two countries will intensify bilateral cooperation in the military-economic and military-scientific areas, in military education, military medicine, training, etc., Belarus Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov said when presenting the bill to the MPs.

The document reads that the parties will carry out official visits and meetings, exchange experiences, participate in conferences, symposia, and seminars, exchange necessary information and documents, organize scientific and technological projects, and participate in operational and combat training activities.

The agreement also provides for the bilateral activities within the framework of the international military cooperation and establishes financial obligations of the parties, determines the order of information protection, dispute resolution, emergency medical and dental assistance to representatives of the parties, etc.

MP Vladimir Vasilenko inquired whether Serbia is planning to send its military to study in the military educational institutions of Belarus. Andrei Ravkov noted that he recently met with the Defense Minister of Serbia in Moscow and discussed this issue among others. "We have already scheduled relevant events in the plan for cooperation with the Republic of Serbia this year," he said. Soon a Serbian delegation will visit the military department of one of the Belarusian educational establishments. There are also plans to send a big delegation of the Military Academy of Belarus to Serbia to address this issue. "This is the plan for 2015," said the minister.

MP Nikolai Plaksitsky asked about the bilateral cooperation in the field of peacekeeping operations. Andrei Ravkov explained that the Armed Forces of Belarus have units (a peacekeeping company) for performing peacekeeping tasks if such is required by the international situation. "We make use of the international experience. We will learn from Serbia’s 50-year experience and use it in practice, train our units for possible (in the future) participation in peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the UN,” Andrei Ravkov said.

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