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8 Dec 2017

NATO praises Belarus’ unprecedented transparency during Zapad 2017 army exercise

BRUSSELS, 8 December (BelTA) – NATO thinks highly of the level of transparency Belarus enabled for the duration of the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017. NATO representatives made the relevant statement at a media briefing for Belarusian reporters and experts at the NATO HQ, BelTA has learned.

The NATO representatives drew attention to Belarus’ open approach to army exercises. They noted: “The Zapad army exercise is very interesting. It grows larger and develops. During this year’s Zapad army exercise Belarus demonstrated unprecedented transparency. Detailed briefings were arranged in the NATO HQ and OSCE bodies in Vienna.”

The NATO representatives also mentioned that in compliance with international requirements Belarus had issued the necessary notifications about the forthcoming exercise and the number of its participants in advance. The NATO HQ stated: “Belarus did not misinform anyone. The country mentioned 13,000 participants while the actual number was smaller — about 12,700. Thus, Belarus was not obliged to invite international observers, but it did so voluntarily.” The military attaches of the diplomatic missions in Minsk, including from China, were invited to observe the exercise among other people.

The source drew attention to the fact that Belarus had also invited NATO representatives, who could observe the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017 for three days. Apart from that, a five-day tour was arranged for a number of foreign observers, including from several NATO member states. They could see more than guests of honor. For instance, a flight over the exercise area in Belarus was arranged for them.

“We cannot comprehend how absolute laymen criticize Belarus in this regard. We see that the country is interested in expanding cooperation with the European Union and NATO in security matters. In our opinion there are no serious hindrances to it,” said the source.

 

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