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13 Sep 2017

Defense Ministry: Belarus strictly adheres to its international arms control obligations

Defense Ministry: Belarus strictly adheres to its international arms control obligationsMINSK, 13 September (BelTA) – Belarus fulfills its obligations set forth in the international treaties on arms control to the letter, Oleg Voinov, head of the International Military Cooperation Department at Belarus’ Defense Ministry, defense minister’s aide for international military cooperation, told the media on 13 September, BelTA has learned.

Oleg Voinov noted that the OSCE and NATO member states actively take advantage of their opportunities envisaged by the international arms control agreements. Experts are assessing military activity in Belarus as the preparations for the army exercise are underway. They want to continue their work over the course of the exercise. The experts will inspect the training ranges which will host the active part of the exercise and other places. “We welcome our colleagues’ requests. We will provide them with every possibility to monitor the events in a proper way. Belarus adheres to its international arms control obligations to the letter,” Oleg Voinov underlined.

The country also strictly fulfills all the obligations arising from the international and regional treaties on disarmament, verification activity, confidence- and security-building measures signed in the UN and the OSCE. “Adhering to these obligations, in late 2016 Belarus officially notified the parties to the 2011 Vienna Document about the upcoming Zapad 2017 army exercise,” Oleg Voinov pointed out.

Despite the fact that Zapad 2017 does not reach the parameters stipulated in the Vienna Document, Belarus has invited Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Sweden and Norway to monitor the army exercise in order to avoid mistrust and tensions. This means that five NATO member states will monitor Zapad 2017 in Belarus.

Oleg Voinov recalled that Zapad 2017 is a purely defensive exercise. It is designed to improve the joint use of military infrastructure to ensure the Belarus-Russia Union State’s military security. The army exercise is also meant to increase the effectiveness of Belarus’ military security, independence, and territorial integrity.

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