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Opinions & Interviews

4 Sep 2019

Belarus’ cooperation with Russia unaffected by relations with NATO

Belarus’ cooperation with Russia unaffected by relations with NATO

MINSK, 4 September (BelTA) – Belarus’ relations with NATO, including with neighboring countries, advance without detriment to cooperation with Russia, BelTA learned from State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Stanislav Zas on 4 September.

The official said: “One cannot say that, for instance, we got together in Warsaw [a meeting with high-ranking security officials of the USA, Poland, and Ukraine] and made plans or plots against someone. Not by a long shot. Our partners know perfectly well and it was mentioned during that meeting that Russia is our strategic ally and partner. Our mutual relations with the NATO bloc or our neighbors are pursued without detriment to cooperation with the Russian Federation. We advance contacts both with our western neighbors and with Russia.”

Stanislav Zas said that Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev will come to Belarus next week. “It is a scheduled visit. It is in no way dependent on some international events. We would like to discuss certain matters, on the whole, they correlate in some aspects [with what was discussed in Warsaw]: the state of international mechanisms of arms control and information security. These matters cannot be discussed with only one vector. It is important to have a dialogue with all parties in this region,” the state secretary of Belarus’ Security Council said.

Stanislav Zas said that the meeting in Warsaw in late August had been arranged upon the initiative of foreign partners. Bilateral meetings with colleagues from Ukraine and Poland took place as well as meetings of representatives of four countries, including Belarus and the USA.

The sides primarily discussed security in Eastern Europe. More global topics were mentioned as well. According to Stanislav Zas, the sides had a talk about the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and prospects of the Russia-USA Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (SNV-III).

Apart from that, the non-proliferation of nuclear materials was mentioned as well as counteraction of transboundary crime, maintenance of information security. “We and the USA have a program on control of the non-proliferation of nuclear materials. Thanks to the program we’ve been given an opportunity to install equipment to find nuclear materials at border checkpoints. A very important task. We’ve suggested extending the lifetime of the program and expanding it onto the entire region. Including onto Ukraine and Poland. Because we are talking about common security,” Stanislav Zas shared the details.

On the whole, he described the meeting in Warsaw as useful: “We were given an opportunity to present our assessments, we heard our partners, neighbors, with whom we share a common border, a history, and mutual relations are rather tight.”

Belarus’ relations were NATO were aired as well. “We confirm we are interested in advancing this cooperation. We welcome the fact that restrictions on contacts of high-level representatives between NATO and Belarus have been lifted. It is necessary for the relations to evolve,” the state secretary of the Security Council stressed.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine was also discussed. “This factor has serious influence on the security of the entire region. All participants of the dialogue confirm that the effectiveness of the ‘Normandy format’ talks is low. Prospects of this negotiation process were discussed, including the possibility of increasing the number of participants and getting the USA involved in the process. It is understandable that we should move on. And Belarus confirmed its view that we see only one way to resolve the conflict – by political and diplomatic methods,” Stanislav Zas said.

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