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Opinions & Interviews

3 Sep 2019

Belarus president views INF Treaty breakdown with alarm

Belarus president views INF Treaty breakdown with alarm

MINSK, 3 September (BelTA) – The termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) is dangerous. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement during the international conference held in Minsk on 3 September to discuss fight against terrorism, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that consequences of terminating the treaty may be even more dangerous than terrorism. “If we don’t stop, consider it as the first step towards a new war. I hope at least nuclear weapons will not be used during this war.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that counteracting terrorism is an exceptionally important link but not the only one in the chain of universal efforts to ensure international security. The degradation of systemic foundations of this security is gaining momentum. The construction of these foundations began in the middle of the last century.

“The broken trust between countries is one of the reasons and results of this process. The termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is the latest sad example. Yet another step and you know who to blame for it. And you probably understand that several years later – this fight has already started – we will start fighting this dreadful evil by spending money and arranging conferences. And those, who are guilty of breaking these treaties today, may be the ones to initiate the organization of these conferences. Why don’t we stop now?!” the head of state wondered.

In his words, the real possibility of these weapons surfacing in calm and peaceful Europe represents a direct road to higher tensions on the continent and a new lap in the arms race. “The arms race has already begun. It is moving very fast. The leading countries accelerate this process so much that dozens and hundreds of people die in the course of testing the new weapons,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that for the sake of restoring trust Belarus has been persistent and consistent in promoting the idea of resuming a broad international dialogue at the regional level and the global one. “Without universal readiness for a new negotiation process to stabilize international relations we cannot guarantee the security of our countries and nations. It is necessary to look for a uniting agenda, new ideas that a large number of countries and international organizations would share. In my opinion, efforts to counteract the deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe should be one of them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president stressed that Belarus had been a full party to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty: “We didn’t withdraw from the treaty. We don’t intend to make or deploy such missiles if there is no threat to our security. There is none for now. I hope there will be none. I say it as the head of state of the country located in the very heart of the European continent where genes of every resident contain memories of the most dreadful wars in the history of mankind. All of them have rolled through our land.”

“I am convinced that a declaration by responsible countries against placing medium-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe could be a genuine contribution to stronger security. We are not idealists and can see all the difficulties this initiative may encounter in conditions of the existing contradictions. But in the past both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and global prohibitions against other kinds of weapons of mass destruction also seemed impossible,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president said he is convinced that joint efforts to preserve INF Treaty accomplishments in Europe could be an important step in the global dialogue on restoring trust.

The head of state believes the opinion that richer countries will win the arms race is superficial. “With the current advance of technologies you don’t have to be the first in this race. Even a country of moderate wealth can produce weapons to make sorry the rich countries, which want to be the leaders in this arms race,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

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